Presswatch special

Classic Cars November 2015 001

It’s not often that there is an entire article about restoring a Facel Vega but this month’s Classic Cars (November, issue 508) has exactly that. To its credit, the magazine publishes seven pages of a project by Hans Ruhe’s Amicale Facel Holland to restore an HK500 including interviews with the principal workers in the project. It is written by Nigel Boothman and the pics are by Laurens Parsons.

The article starts with a double page pic of what I assume to be Hans’s workshop. There are three HK500s visible, plus a Facel 11 on one high lift and a Facel 111 – I guess – on another, plus two other unidentified cars. The action later moves to Classic Job’s premises, a company with whom Ruhe has recently entered into a partnership.

The story is about the restoration of an HK500 that Ruhe says he’s known about for some years and has owned for ten – although it then transpires that there is ‘a new owner’. It’s a hulk, says Ruhe, and they even had to cut the whole of the back off the car.

The article starts with a story about the metalwork, cutting out the rust, building up the C-pillars for instance. It states that the hours taken to do this are 600 hours and there are warnings that one piece of trim from one Facel won’t fit another.

The action then moves to Ruhe’s new business partner, Job Brouwers at Classic Job who has embraced new technology, which includes 3D printing by a firm in Germany called Beauvary GmbH who will do small series of runs. These have included sheet metal bodywork as well as a headlight bracket and steering wheel boss. Hours taken here, 100.

The next crosshead carries the subhead Driveline, Chassis, Running gear and is an interview with Classic Job’s Jorrit Vincent. Interestingly, it describes the use of an American system called Mico-Lock (or is that Micro-Lock?) which introduces a one-way valve into the hydraulic brake circuit which effectively acts as a park on an automatic which the usual Torquefite automatic gearbox doesn’t have. A Dutch company called EZ Power Steering has developed a compact electric power steering system. Hours taken, 400 hours.

Then there is Panelwork and Painting, most of which was done by Harry van der Sluis who has over 37 years experience in this business. He suggests that the hours taken would be 350. And finally there is Assembly and Trim – no hours suggestion here – but an interesting – if unsurprising – admission by Jochem Colenbrander that modern electric window motors work better than the old Piper mechanisms.

Some of the article includes this kind of information although I would like to see a much expanded version of it, including who the restorers use but then this is their secret and one that all restorers guard jealously, even if the owners’ clubs to which they belong – and from which they get much of their business – actually demand that they share their knowledge with fellow club members.

The article ends with an ad for a French barn-find HK500 in case you fancied getting involve further, while much later in the magazine is an ad for an Excellence in Austria which has also been restored in Holland with an asking price of €175,000.

To complete the story, Classic Cars has a price guide which suggests that prices for early Facels are between £60,000 and £175,000; for HK500s £60,000 and £180,000; for Facel 11s £125,000 to £300,000 and finally for Facellia/Facel 111s: £11,000 to £42,500.

Finally, Hans Ruhe has made a slight error in his introduction to this article on his website, praising Classic and Sports Car for doing the article; it isn’t, it’s Classic Cars which will cost you £4.50 but hurry!



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