RM Auctions at Retromobile 2015

rmauctionsI was unaware that there was a third auction at Retromobile and this one by RM comes first on February 4. They have this HK500 up for sale, which means that there’s an HK500, a Facel 11, three Excellences and a Facel FV3B available at Retromobile – quite apart from all the other delectable machines. As in London in September, a veritable log-jam of auctions.

Lot 170

 RM Auction at Retromobile 2015, Paris

February 4, 2015, Lot 170

1961 Facel Vega HK500 Coupé



Estimate €120.000 – €160.000

  • Chassis no. HK1 BV9
  • Engine no. TY7-161
  • Production no. 748360 bhp, 392 cu. in. OHV Chrysler Typhoon V-8 engine, three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission, coil-spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,667 mm.
  • Original American-delivery example
  • Powerful Typhoon V-8 engine
  • Freshly restored to original conditionBC writes; This looks a really good car and the money is quite realistic too, particularly for a left hand drive car. A right hand drive HK500, in similar condition, stopped at £135k at an RM auction in London last September; this one’s top estimate is £123k. A left hand drive car, in poorer condition stopped at a similar price, so a good car at £123k would seem good value.
  • The Facel Vega was the brainchild of Jean Daninos, a Parisian-born engineer of Greek ancestry. He worked for Citroën in body engineering and as the head of special vehicles, but he left after the Michelin takeover. He founded Métallon, a fabricator of kitchen cabinets and sinks, and in 1939, he established Forges et Atéliers de Construction d’Eure-et-Loire, or FACEL for short. The two firms combined and made aero engines during World War II. After the war, Facel-Métallon produced bodies for the Dyna Panhard, the Simca, and Ford of France’s Cométe Coupé. In 1954, Daninos decided to try his hand at a complete car. He mounted a Chrysler Hemi V-8 engine on a tubular chassis frame with box-section cross-members, and he used either Chrysler’s Powerflite automatic gearbox or the French Pont-a-Mousson fully synchronised four-speed manual unit. Suspension was in the American idiom: coil-spring independent in the front and a live axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs at the rear. The body was Facel’s own, and it was executed in steel with stainless brightwork. A few convertibles were built, but most were four-passenger pillarless coupés. The first cars were designated FV, and by 1956, a 5,407-cubic centimetre Chrysler Hemi-powered version was introduced as the FV2B. Power-assisted steering became available, and an Excellence four-door pillarless saloon was displayed at the Paris Motor Show late in 1957. In 1958, several engines were offered, with the largest being a 5,801-cubic centimetre Hemi, and by that time, the Excellence reached production, with 22 being built. A modest restyling was introduced in 1959, and the coupé was renamed the HK500. During the year, the 6,279-cubic centimetre Chrysler “wedge” engine, which was replacing the Hemi in the United States, was made available. With twin four-throat Carter carburettors, it made 360 brake horsepower. Tom McCahill, the loquacious auto critic for Mechanix Illustrated, called it “sexier than the Place Pigalle and throatier than a Russian basso”. The HK500 offered here was originally delivered to Facel Inc., of New York City, on 19 August 1960, and at that time, it was finished in Mercedes White, with a black interior, and was equipped with the automatic gearbox, power steering, and 3.31:1 rear axle ratio. In its present European ownership, it was fully restored back to original condition but with a change to the current body and interior colours. This HK500 is a compelling example of one of the most elegant gran routiers of its time, and it would be an interesting addition to any collection.

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