On Tuesday afternoon, this only has about 24 hours to run on e-Bay UK but that’s probably just as well because it doesn’t leave a fanciful purchaser time to think about the possibilities, just enough time to say NO.
As the seller mentions, it is a major restoration project. I’m reproducing his words below so that you know just what you might be taking on, but it’s pretty major. I note that it’s got to about £2200 and hasn’t reached his reserve yet, but he has had ten bids. Buying a car like this is simply a licence to spend a lot more money, believe me. It’s just what I’m doing with the Excellence that I’m restoring, so beware! Whoever is bidding £2200 is probably buying the car for spares, sensible chap! As the seller mentions, you can spend the same amount just having a front bumper made.
It is chassis number F6, originally delivered sometime between September to October 1958, and apparently owned by Izzard Davies. The car was driven on the road from Paris to England. It has disc brakes – quite good for an early car although most of the British cars ended up with them – and is a manual, therefore having the Pont-a-Mousson gearbox, rare for spares. It was originally registered WNM 917 which is probably still available.
It has been owned by scrap dealer John Wright in Lincoln among others. This is what the seller has to say about it:
“Hi, it’s with great reluctance that I’m selling my long-term project, but after 12 years it didn’t look like I was going to have the time or money anytime soon to bring this old bruiser back to life. The plan was to stick a V8 (actually a silver shadow one) in it and make a unique hotrod, but it seems I need to focus on more realistic projects for now. Values have risen (Practical Classics now list a show-condition one at £135,000 and a “rough” one at £65,000) and it’s no longer disposable enough to make into a hot rod, and I’m not rich enough to restore it as it should be done.
“As mentioned above it is completely dismantled. Whole car is covered in uniform brown rust but most steel still good. The body had rusted around where the roof joins at the back windows and at the floor so is now in two halves (which does make it easier to load onto a trailer without the wheels on). The body is not connected to the chassis anymore, it just rests on it. One new floor panel was fitted (now very rusty) and another is waiting to go in. Chassis solid, like it could support a locomotive. There’s a LOT of patching and welding to do but the main shape is still there and most of the interior panels are flat or right-angled sheet steel (Facel Vega made filing cabinets before cars and used lots of simple folded panels). Interior would have to be completely re-trimmed but most of the old stuff is there for templates. Doors are in pretty good shape. Front windscreens can be obtained I’m told through the owner’s club, and the front bumper can be fabricated (was quoted around £2500 ten years ago). A mint red one is in the Haynes Motor Museum and they don’t mind you running a tape measure over it etc:)
“Engines in these were traditionally “the biggest Chrysler can supply”; this was a 5.9, later ones had the 6.2 (383 Chrysler V8) which is very available from the USA at a shockingly low price (the same engine powered many police cars and other vehicles). I suppose if following the maxim of “biggest from Chrysler” these days that means putting a Viper engine in it:) (I’d also improve the brakes!!!) The manual gearbox was notoriously unreliable and would be very hard to replace, I was planning on using a bespoke transmission (for drag racing) or using an adapted gearbox from another car (such as a Jensen). There is a reserve on it, which I will not budge on…. had this thing too long to let it go too cheap. .
“HISTORY: (as verified by the Facel Vega Owners Club) Chassis Number: HK F6 Body Number 403 Engine Number (missing): TY7 35714 (5907cc) Original registration number was WNM 917 51st HK500 built, the 15th to be imported to the UK, first DRIVEN to the UK instead of delivered by rail. Would suit anyone very good at welding or could be used as a parts car to put a better one back on the road… not many of these left now.”
Then there’s more detail:
“This is MOST of a Facel Vega HK500, 1958, RIGHT HAND DRIVE MANUAL. Missing: Engine,Gearbox (was manual), Front Bumper, Front Windscreen. Propshaft. Bonnet rotten beyond repair. All 4 wire wheels badly rusted, tyres long perished. Some parts of rear lights missing. GOT: Chassis (SOLID) Body (90% intact but needs a lot of attention, fabricating, welding), Interior; All seats and panels(most leather is rotted but has been dry stored and framework is all there). Original steering wheel(needs re-coating)+ column/box. Fuel tank. Trim: MOST (stainless steel) including all front grilles and rear bumper(which needs some attention). Bootlid and both doors (re-skinned) with windows, Rear windows, Rear windscreen. Got front wishbones + rear axle + diff. Boxes of other parts. Original painted metal dashboard (without some dials, speedo remains). Brake calipers and discs (rusted but there). Body and chassis were stripped and dipped several years ago but have rusted since. Lots of documentation.”