<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>

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Lot 93
1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE

US$ 175,000 - 225,000
€ 150,000 - 190,000
1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE

Chassis no. HKBC2
Engine no. TY731567

383ci OHV Chrysler V-8 Engine
Dual 4-Barrel Carburetors
355bhp at 4,800rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Front Independent Suspension – Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Dunlop Disc Brakes

*Beautifully presented example of the French Rolls-Royce
*Unique provenance and ownership history
*Desirable Hemi-engine and 4-speed manual configuration
*Perfect for the Copperstate 1000 or similar rallies



The Facel-Vega HK500

In its relatively short life, the French firm of Facel produced approximately 2,900 cars, all of which were stylish, luxurious and fast. Hand built, they were, of course, necessarily very expensive – the Facel-Vega HK500 was priced in Rolls-Royce territory – and were bought by the rich and famous seeking something exclusive and distinctive. The roll call of owners included royalty, politicians, diplomats and entertainers. Confirming there was also high-performance substance behind Facel's unquestionable style, they were owned and driven by great motor racing figures such as Sir Stirling Moss, Maurice Trintignant and Rob Walker.

From being chiefly engaged in the supply of car bodies to Panhard, Simca and Ford France, Facel branched out into automobile manufacture in its own right in 1954 with the launch of the Vega at the 1954 Paris Salon. A luxurious Grand Routier, the Vega took its name from the brightest star in the Lyra constellation and featured supremely elegant coupé bodywork welded to a tubular-steel chassis. There being no suitable French-built power unit, Facel turned to the USA for the Vegas, initially choosing Chrysler's 4.5-litre, 180bhp V8. There was a choice of push-button automatic or manual transmission.

An improved model, the HK500 appeared in 1957. Maximum power was now around 360bhp courtesy of the latest, 5.9-liter version of Chrysler's 'hemi' V8 and top speed rose to around 140mph. Power steering became an option and Dunlop disc brakes were adopted as standard equipment in 1960. Capable of effortless and virtually silent 120mph cruising, the HK500 possessed, according to The Motor magazine, "a brilliant combination of good comfort and quite exceptional roadholding." HK 500 production amounted to just 500-or-so units between 1958 and 1961 and today this rare Franco-American Grand Routier is highly sought after.


The Motorcar Offered

This elegant and beautifully presented right-hand drive Facel-Vega HK500 has lived a very interesting life among prominent people of the 20th century. It was bought new by the famous World War II veteran Arthur Christopher John Soames, who came from a military family and was educated at Eton and RMC Sandhurst. Mr. Soames served in World War II with the Coldstream Guards earning the French Cross of War (Croix de Guerre) in 1942. After the war he served in Paris, and in 1955 was honored as Commander of the Order of the British Empire. At the time he bought this Facel-Vega in 1959, he served as Secretary of State for War in the Harold MacMillan government. Mr. Soames had married Mary Churchill, youngest daughter of Sir Winston and Lady Spencer Churchill in 1947. After having served as Ambassador in France from 1968-1972, Mr. Soames was the last British Governor of Rhodesia, negotiating the colony's transition into the nation of Zimbabwe. His accomplishments earned him a lifetime peerage, Baron Soames of Fletching, in 1979.

This Facel-Vega was generously equipped with power windows, power steering, European-style headlights and a Motorola solid-state radio. The powerful dual 4-barrel 383ci engine is mated to a desirable 4-speed Pont-a-Mousson manual transmission, the latter a rare and highly desirable option to the standard Chrysler Torqueflite automatic. The engine is correctly numbered FY7 for its Facel-Vega application and carries the correct air cleaner assemblies.

The car was restored in the 1990s and remains in beautiful condition, presented in a lovely creamy yellow over a rich oxblood leather interior with an appropriate wooden dash. A set of new Borrani center-lock wire wheels with 3-ear Facel-Vega mounting nuts has been fitted. Facel-Vegas are noted for their extensive use of stainless steel for exterior bright work, and the highly polished bright trim on this example is a delight upon close inspection.

Arguably one of the finest Facel-Vega HK500s in existence, this striking example is optioned with the most desirable dual 4-barrel 383ci Hemi engine and 4-speed manual gearbox, and the Soames/Churchill provenance surely adds to this Frenchmen's pedigree.
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<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
<B>1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500 COUPE</B>
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