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1959 Facel Vega HK 500

High Quality Restoration of a Beautiful Large Displacement French Motoring Icon.

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Price $225,000
VIN HKJ20426
Exterior Color Pale Yellow
Interior Color Bordeaux Leather
Mileage 41690 Miles TMU
Engine 6.3L Chrysler V8 no. TY41834
Transmission Chrysler Torqueflite Automatic
Status Inventory
Stock FJ2116

Comments

1959 Facel Vega HK500
s/n HK J2-0426, Engine no. TY41834
Pale Yellow with Bordeaux Leather

Post war Europe saw the emergence of some of the most innovative automotive companies and engineering ideas the modern world had ever seen. Companies had learned so much about mass production, they were eager to meet the opportunities in the growing world market for sporting and luxury cars. When French steel-press manufacturer Facel S.A. decided it was time to build their own car, they approached their project with pride, craftsmanship, and excellence not only in manufacturing but in the finest design and quality for each of their limited production cars.

Automobile stamping was not new to Facel. They had already provided bodies for a range of companies including Ford, Panhard, Simca, and Delahaye, so it was not to great a leap for them to assume a car of their own complete design. After a series of developments with luxury brands including Bentley and the handsome Ford Comete, and work in the aviation industry, Facel debuted the “Vega” model in 1954. The design was large and yet sporty, with a low roofline, dramatic wraparound windshield, featuring wire wheels, and a potent V8 engine. Employing front double wishbone suspension and rear live axle, the tubular chassis resulted in brisk performance numbers. The handsome hardtop design was very well executed for the times, most notably featuring all leather interiors with a (then) novel center console that wrapped around the driver - a very aviation-style approach, accented by an array of performance instrumentation that conveyed the look of a fighter cockpit, yet clothed in elegant leather and burled wood facade.

Facel HK500 models were expensive for the times, but literally handmade on a per order basis with exceptional build quality and superb material craftsmanship. Total production of this series amounted to just 490 cars.

This Facel is one of only 190 HK500 models produced in 1959. J2-0426 was imported directly to the US by Max Hoffman, the now well-known European automobile importer who is credited with having introduced some of the finest European cars to US buyers. Originally fitted as it is today with the 6.3 Liter Chrysler V8 and three speed push-button automatic transmission, the car was assembled and shipped directly to Hoffman, as noted in the Facel factory documentation. After delivery to Hoffman, the car was sold to a dedicated owner who preserved the car for almost fifty years, before selling it to the second owner. The third owner purchased the car roughly four years ago and has since updated the mechanical systems and preserved the excellent cosmetics with careful attention to detail, employing marque specialists to address all mechanical and cosmetic needs. Currently it is not only beautifully prepared for show, but finely restored with appropriate subtle upgrades making this car suitable for tours, events, or enjoyable driving.

Today the car presents in beautiful condition throughout, featuring excellent finishes and appropriate upgrades to benefit the performance and driving experience. The beautiful Pale Yellow paint is very nicely done with excellent gloss and very good panel fit. There are a couple of minor paint blemishes near the grille, and one area of shrinkage behind the driver’s door shut line area. The doors, hood, and trunk open and close easily and display proper gapping. Fit and finish on all chrome and trim parts is very nice throughout. The windshield and side glass moldings are very nicely finished along with excellent glass all around. The bumpers and decorative rocker panel trim are nicely plated and polished revealing both the labor-intensive original construction and restoration efforts on this fine Facel. The wire wheels and tires are correctly matched to this car, featuring 80 series tall profile tires, which fill the wheel wells as originally intended, giving the car the right stance and aggressive look. Exterior cosmetics are done to a very high standard, fitting to a car of this stature when new.

The interior continues the theme of elegance and performance with stunning Bordeaux leather interior throughout the car. Seats, door panels, center console, and dashboard are all covered in this exquisite leather, which not only creates an aura of elegance, it is further accented by full instrumentation and a veneered burled walnut dashboard facade. These elegant touches resonate in the chrome details and trim that adorns the cabin. The unique center console, itself an innovation, is trimmed in leather, bolstered by the central dashboard area, which wraps around the driver and passenger, reminiscent of Facel’s aviation background. The carpet, leather, and wood are all in very good to excellent condition showing mild wear due to minimal use. All of the instruments, switches, and various knobs function as expected as the current owner has recently had all electrical tested and corrected as needed. The interior and under hood light bulbs have all been replaced with LED lights in order to avoid melting fragile lenses. The cable-drive tachometer (driven off the generator) functions properly, as does the speedometer and odometer, displaying what is believed to be the original 41,690 miles on the car. The temperature, oil pressure, ammeter, and fuel gauge all function. The electric clock also holds time, and when the battery is disconnected, the clock can be reset from a small button under the center of the dash. The radio functions properly and will raise both of the rear fender antennas automatically when the radio is turned on. In order to make for smoother and more reliable side glass operation, the cumbersome original chain driven mechanism for raising and lowering the side glass was replaced with newer, smoother operating mechanisms. As with all upgrades done to the car, this too was thoughtfully executed with originality in mind.

Under the hood, the original Chrysler V8 engine has been restored to a very high standard using correct factory finishes and proper fittings, components, and appropriate hardware as originally built. The engine features the single four-barrel carburetor, typical of the cars delivered from the factory with automatic transmissions. Under current ownership, a great deal of care has been devoted to upgrading two important features of the car. The brakes have been updated to a modern vacuum type dual master cylinder system, powering modern dual caliper Wilwood front disk brakes and brand new cast iron rear drum brakes. This dual master cylinder update is cleverly designed into the original engine compartment and nicely fit into the four properly offset wire wheels. The same is true of the cooling system, which has been upgraded to dual electric fans, each of which are triggered by separate operating temperatures depending on cooling demands. All new fans, wiring, and controllers were installed when this update was cleverly designed into the car. In both cases, brakes and cooling, these upgrades result in a far more reliable and pleasant car to drive and enjoy. The trunk compartment has been properly trimmed with correct finishes and displays the original style tool kit, though absent of the tools. The spare wire wheel is finished to the same standard as the four on the car, but has a slightly different offset. The undercarriage of the car is in very nice condition showing minimal wear since restoration.

The car starts with ease and delivers a smooth but eager idle. The push button transmission is easily engaged with a push on the dash. Acceleration is brisk for a car of this size with progressive power coming on smoothly and evenly as the car advances to highway speeds. Interior feels comfortable with just enough grip in the seats under gentle cornering. Braking is very nice, thanks to the modern disc brakes and dual master cylinder. Ride is smooth and gentle, much like one might expect from a car of this era, but surprisingly capable and easy to handle at speed. Period publications lauded the Facel for excellent acceleration and ride, and the improvements in this example amplify those comments. The car comes with receipts for work performed recently as well as some original reference materials.

As one of 490 built, this Facel HK500 is both rare and desirable not only for the handmade design and excellence in construction, but for the performance and unique origins that heralded this innovative company. Ready for enjoyable driving and confident tours, this HK500 delivers elegance and sporting luxury in a beautifully updated classic.

 


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Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA

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