• Year of manufacture 
  • Car type 
  • Chassis number 
    HK1 BN2
  • Engine number 
  • Lot number 
  • Drive 
  • Condition 
  • Exterior brand colour 
  • Interior brand colour 
    Black leather piped in red
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
  • Gearbox 


Founded by Jean Daninos in 1939, Forges et Ateliers de Construction d'Eure-et-Loir (FACEL) originally specialised in the production of aircraft materials before the outbreak of war in 1939. After World War II, Facel distributed car bodies to Panhard, Simca and Ford France. It would not be until 1954 that Facel began to manufacture its own vehicle, the Facel Vega FV, which was unveiled at the Paris Salon in 1954. Crippling legislation immediately after the war made it virtually impossible for luxurious cars to be manufactured in France, but despite this, Jean Daninos was passionate about reigniting the romance of lavishly glamorous French motoring.

With no post-war European power unit available that would suitably complement the magnificent luxurious interior and exterior of his new creation, Daninos turned to the 276 cubic inch (4.5 litre) De Soto Firedome V-8. This was a dependable engine, with a 7.5:1 compression ratio and pushrod-operated overhead valves, pushing out 170 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and capable of propelling this imposing piece of French architecture to a top speed of 130mph. Despite the staggering $7,000 asking price at launch, buyers were still flocking to take ownership of Daninos beautiful creation.

Later developments saw the introduction, in 1956, of the Facel Vega FVS, further evolving into the all-new HK500 in 1959. The chosen engine to power the next chapter in Facel history was the most famous of them all, the 383 cubic inch V-8, which produced a thundering 360bhp and a claimed top speed of 147mph. Through this outstanding combination of alluring styling and significant power, the Facel Vega HK500 legend was born.

The media were hugely excited with Facel's latest sports coupé. A Mechanix Illustrated magazine tester, Tom McCahill, said the HK500 was, "Sexier than the Place Pigalle and throatier than a Russian basso; A sporting piece of equipment that looks like money, which is exactly what it costs ($9,795 new). A car to be appreciated as a remarkable and wonderfully satisfying road companion". Adored for its charm and style, the Facel Vega HK500 captivated the hearts of the masses, with numerous celebrities such as Dean Martin and Ava Gardner taking ownership of this pinnacle of French elegance. Drawn by Jean Daninos himself, the Facel Vega seamlessly incorporates American styling with French glamour.

Mechanically, the HK500 was very similar to its predecessors. The chassis was designed by Lance Macklin, a tubular frame featuring independent front suspension coils and wishbones; whilst at the rear, a live axle is held in place by longitudinal semi-elliptic springs. With over 350bhp available from the roaring Chrysler V-8, the HK500 was one of the fastest cars of its day.

This UK-supplied HK500 HK1 was delivered new to Westcote Manor, the Oxfordshire pile of Captain Hesketh Raoul (Liony) Millais, noted equestrian, portrait artist, keen sportsman and son of Johnny Millais, noted explorer, artist and landscape gardener. Though it left the factory in a gleaming Peony Red, 'Liony' had the car relacquered in Silver grey prior to receiving it on May 5th, 1960. This car has a lovely specification featuring power assisted disc brakes, 3-speed Torqueflight automatic gearbox, power steering, and electric windows.

This is a unique barn find having been out or circulation in the UK for some 35 years prior to being acquired by its current owner last year. It has been stored sympathetically and is in highly original and relatively complete order. The interior is all there and the bodywork is in need of restoration. We encourage all buyers to inspect this vehicle in person.

It is noted that at some point the wheel housings have been relieved and a modern Moto Lita steering wheel added but these modifications can be easily reversed. A very important right-hand drive supercar with real provenance, this Facel would benefit greatly from a 'concours' restoration. Sold strictly as seen, this car deserves to be brought back to life and applauded for what it is, a brave creation in the face of adversity and a wonderful piece of French automobile history.



Silverstone Auctions Ltd
Silverstone House
Kineton Road
CV35 0EP
United Kingdom
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