"In the world of motoring some few cars come to deserve the adjective 'great' because, although they have faults like everything else in this imperfect world, they provide such a highly desirable combination of virtues. Driving the latest Facel Vega HK500 in Britain, France, Switzerland, and Belgium . . . we found it hard to keep superlatives out of the conversation" (Motor, April 1960).
The most famous and successful of the various Facel Vega models, the HK500 was introduced in May 1958. True to company founder Jean Daninos' vision of a hand built 'grand routier' that could compete on the world stage, the newcomer counted the likes of the Ferrari 250GTE, Maserati 3500GT and Aston Martin DB4 among its rivals. Derived from that of the preceding FVS, the sport saloon's tubular steel chassis was equipped with independent double-wishbone front suspension, a 'live' rear axle and four-wheel finned drum brakes (though, discs were soon optional). Maintaining the short-lived manufacturer's reputation for performance, the HK500 was powered by a 5.9 litre (later 6.3 litre) Chrysler V8 OHV engine allied to automatic transmission. While, those looking for even greater thrills could specify a four-speed Pont-a-Mousson manual gearbox and dual four-choke Carter carburettors. One of the fastest cars of its generation, Autocar found a manual HK500 to be capable of 0-60mph in 8.4 seconds, 0-100mph in 19.1 seconds and a theoretical 140mph. Beautifully wrought the 2+2 seater's steel body was characterized by a dramatic three-piece grille, wraparound windscreen, stacked headlights, cut-away tail lights and imposing bumpers. As stylish inside as out, the Facel Vega's cabin boasted sumptuous leather upholstery, electric windows and a wood-effect painted steel dashboard. With a select clientele that included Pablo Picasso, Ava Gardner, Sir Stirling Moss, Ringo Starr, Tony Curtis, Maurice Trintignant, Joan Fontaine, Danny Kaye, François Truffaut and Rob Walker, the HK500 remained in production until 1961 by which time some 548 are thought to have been made. Though, according to the Facel Vega Car Club's website just 98 of these were supplied new to the UK.
First registered to UK concessionaires H.W. Motors Ltd of Walton-on-Thames on May 5th 1960, this particular right-hand drive example was acquired by its first private keeper, Charles Wilson Esq of Dial House, Catcott (Somerset), a week later. Passing through the hands of Fred Willetts (Blakedown, Worcs, 1961), I.P. Denton (Little Budworth, Cheshire, 1962), Joseph Parks & Sons Ltd (Northwich, Cheshire, 1964) and Woodrim Cars Ltd (Wombourne, Staffs, 1971) thereafter, '5 PPF' entered the current Wiltshire-based ownership on August 18th 1977. Treated to some £2,600 worth of fettling over the next few years including a replacement steering box and stainless steel exhaust, the HK500 underwent an extensive restoration between 1992 and 1999. Principally entrusted to Mike Clarke Classic Cars of Malmesbury file invoices for the work total over £45,000. As well as having its bodywork (floor, sills, doors, front wings etc), 6.3 litre engine, disc brakes and brightwork refurbished, the Facel Vega also benefited from a new windscreen, fresh carpets and respray in Rolls-Royce Regal Red. A desirable manual gearbox car riding on correct-type Borrani knock-off wheels, more recent maintenance / servicing has seen the distributor overhauled (March 2004) and attention paid to the radiator, dynamo, ignition timing and dual Carter carburettors (November 2006). Thought to pleasingly retain its original red leather upholstery, '5 PPF' appears to be in good overall condition. Well known to the Facel Vega Car Club, this enticing HK500 is offered for sale with a large history file (original buff logbook, tax discs back to 1978, MOTs back to 1981 etc), numerous restoration invoices, the Brooklands Books' publication 'Facel Vega 1954 - 1964', assorted Club correspondence and MOT certificate valid until November 2008.
PLEASE NOTE: We have been contacted by a Mr Jonathan Garside who has kindly volunteered the following extra information about the car's provenance: "In the potted history you mention an owner being I. P. Denton. I think you will find this was Paddy Denton one of the original directors of Oulton Park race circuit who helped to make sure it was built. The next owner you mention was J. Parks. Paddy was a Director, if not the Managing Director of Joseph Parks steel fabricators which would be the reason it was registered to them. A very nice company car no doubt!"
PLEASE NOTE: We have been informed that in addition to the work mentioned above, the Facel Vega has been fitted with a new starter motor.
PLEASE NOTE: We have been told by the vendor's agent that this vehicle comes with a good number of tools in its tool tray.