Follow by Email

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

This Rare Facel Vega Joins French Design with a Chrysler V8


Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.

Looking across the annals of history, some of the greatest classic cars have been the result of multinational cooperation. For instance, the Iso Grifo and its Chevrolet V8, the De Tomaso Pantera and its Ford V8, and who can forget the legendary Shelby Cobra. 
However, the supremely elegant Facel Vega is another one to chalk up on that list, and frankly, it’s almost a miracle that it exists at all.

This 1961 Facel Vega HK500 recently surfaced on eBay, and is described as having been in the hands of one Hollywood owner since 1965. If that gives you any indication…there’s something mighty special about these cars.


The Facel Vega story begins after the close of World War II, as French metalworking firm FACEL began to diversify its business, giving plane engine turbines a try, as well as scooter chassis and furniture. Then came bespoke car bodies, including the Ford Comète as well as custom-bodied Bentleys. But eventually in 1954 a full-fledged FACEL automobile arrived, the Facel Vega, reviving the spirit of the French grand tourers.
At the time, French tax rates greatly hindered the production of anything but small displacement cars, which made what FACEL was about to do even more impressive. The company enlisted the help of Chrysler to fit their powerful American V8s under the hood of the French-crafted bodywork. Chrysler obliged and between 1954 and 1964, the Facel Vegas featured DeSoto and Chrysler V8s of larger and larger displacements. The HK500 formed the culmination of Facel Vega performance when it upped the engine output once again (capable of speeds over 140 mph) and introduced slightly refreshed styling.


This punch of power made the somewhat hefty Facel Vegas still quite athletic in their day, yet incredibly spry in terms of the luxury cars they were. Inside, the Facel Vegas featured posh trimmings, wood hewn dashboards, and highly stylish switchgear. Expectedly, they weren’t cheap, and a brand new HK500 would have cost you over $9,000 in 1961.

This surviving HK500, noted to be one of less than 500 built, features the four-wheel disc brakes seen on later models and is said to show only 79,000 kilometers (around 49,000 miles) on the odometer since new. Already, this Vega shows bidding well into the $90,000 range, though recent auction results show that the HK500s can trade well into the region of $140,000.