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1961 FACEL VEGA HK500

£POA
Posted in Specialist cars

Summary

1958 saw the appearance of the HK 500 coupé (type HK), regarded as the culmination of the series. Behind its now-familiar physiognomy, whose double vertical headlamps set the standard in Stuttgart, was a powerful 5,907 cm3 Chrysler V8 engine with automatic gearbox, the Pont-à-Mousson mechanical gearbox being optional. Dunlop disc brakes were fitted as standard a year later (type HK 1), while a few examples reserved for export received an even more powerful 6,286 cm3 engine. It was a model of this version which, driven by Paul Frère (winner of that year's 24 Hours of Le Mans), reached a speed of 237.154 km/h on a specially neutralized stretch of freeway near Antwerp. This record, duly validated by the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium, enabled the automaker to focus its advertising on the following statement: "Facel Vega, the fastest four-seater coupé in the world".

Technical info

Full description

The HK 500 coupé's excellent roadholding, power and finish made it a real success both in France and abroad. Several Formula 1 drivers, such as Maurice Trintignant and Stirling Moss, chose it for their private travels. The clientele, many of them celebrities, was international, and by 1959, over 75% of production was exported!
 
In just a few years, the company had acquired a worldwide reputation at the highest level of automobile construction.
A stylist first and foremost, Jean Daninos ensured that every detail was carefully researched. Such is the case with the splendid rear lights, integrated with moving grace into the curvature of the fenders, the integration of the exhaust outlets into the bumper or, of course, the famous dashboard in steel painted to imitate wood.
In a July 1980 issue of Auto Rétro, Michel G. Renou reported that, when asked about this, Jean Daninos replied that "as a specialist in pressed steel, he was not equipped to make wooden dashboards. Moreover, when he considered the problem, he encountered major difficulties in sourcing precious wood. Finally, for homologation and safety reasons, he preferred not to put wood in his cars. The operation was carried out by hand by an ornamental craftsman and, against all expectations, what could have been considered a lack of authenticity actually contributes to the charisma of this unparalleled interior... 
However, this large, luxurious coupé, with its exceptional performance - but whose price, also exceptional, meant that it could only be sold to a limited number of people, out of reach of most motorists - was in a very narrow market, both in France and worldwide, which alone was not enough to ensure Facel's survival should the subcontracting business, notably for Simca, disappear. So Jean Daninos, looking to the future and also wishing to play a more important role in the construction of the European car industry, decided to build a smaller, more affordable Facel Véga - the Facellia.
 
Nearly sixty years after the demise of the company he created, and two decades after his death, the ghost of Jean Daninos has taken his revenge on those who mocked him: these days, nobody reads the adventures of Major Thompson, but the Facel legend lives on.
Delivered new in Switzerland in January 1961, our HK500 type HK1 was then exhibited by its second owner at the Muriaux automobile museum for many years, before being acquired in 1999 by its current owner, an avid Facel collector. The car benefited from a thorough overhaul, carried out over several years and entrusted in particular to the Atelier Tisserand, a specialist in the make. The car was completely dismantled, and all bodywork components were reworked. Mechanical and electrical components were also refurbished. A file of invoices details the extent of the work carried out. We would also like to highlight the work carried out on the upholstery, with the interior completely overhauled, from the carpets to the headlining, not forgetting the woodwork. The extensive restoration work was completed in 2010. Perfectly maintained in running order, this large, luxurious coupé, with its exceptional performance, is waiting for you to continue the tradition of the great French marques.

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