Sleeping Beauty Nº4: Facel Vega HK500

Beloved by celebrities of stage and screen, the big Facels of the early 60s could be described as ‘French Bentleys’. The HK500 packed a 5.9-litre V8 that endowed the extravagant car with 140+mph potential and the whole package was wrapped in chi-chi styling as French as Galeries Lafayette.

Although popular at the time (remarkably popular, given its price and market position), it’s only in recent years that V8-powered Facels have found favour with the car-collecting cognoscenti. On the face of it, the mechanicals are simple but the body and chassis are sizeable, the interior the same, and some of the parts will be difficult to source. With that performance you want it to stop and handle reasonably well, so you may also find yourself investing in some development work on a car designed for less-crowded roads and a more ‘adventurous’ driving technique.

The cars had an active distributor in the UK (an offshoot of the famous Aston Martin dealer H.W.M.) so many will be right-hand drive. In fact, given the car’s clientele, RHD may well have been specified for home-market customers too, the anomalous layout being de rigueur for upmarket French cars of the early post-War period.

Prices for the original Trans Europe Express start at around the 50,000 euros mark and go up and beyond 100,000 euros. There’s no better way of involving yourself in the whole Facel Vega experience than by first buying the Palawan Press’s definitive book on the subject, reviewed on Classic Driver in 2007.

You rather fancy a Facel Vega HK500, now, don't you? Visit the Classic Driver car database to see what’s available...

Text: Classic Driver
Photo: Thiesen

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