As I flew over the east coast of England on Monday morning, on the way back from Abu Dhabi/Dubai via Frankfurt, I was looking for the mouth of the Crouch river and the pretty sailing village of Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, little imagining that nestling down there was a Facel Vega HK500 that was about to be liberated. But 10VPC has appeared on e-bay as a barn find, having been stored at Burnham-on-Crouch for the last 25 years, and is being offered for sale by the owner’s grandson at a rather optimistic £125,000.
As is often the case in these situations, members of the Facel Vega Car Club (and even the French Amicale Facel Vega) are able to give far more information about the car than those who are close to it. Indeed, the current FVCC president visited this car some time ago and reckoned the then asking price of £25,000 was too much at the time.
It started life as HK-1 CF2, a four speed manual Pont-a-Mousson gearbox car in British Racing green with black interior. It was delivered in May 1961, the 12th last HK500 to be built, although there are three more right hand drive cars that are later, also delivered through Intercontinental Cars. Its first owner may have been a Mr Tabor, but later it was owned and raced in classic saloon car events around 1984 by John Revel, painted in the orange colours of his sponsor, Redland. (This may account for the car’s low mileage of 57,000). It was also owned for some time by Facel guru John Barton.
Racing Facels are relatively rare. The first HK500 imported into this country, HK C4, was bought secondhand by one Fred Oliver whose young son Jackie used this car in Essex to start a career which reached its peak in Formula One. The fourth HK500, HK D1 was used for drag racing by Martin Kent and HK J7 was used in sprints by its enthusiastic owner, Arnold Burton, he of the suit making fame. HK1 BP3 is also said to have been drag raced as was HK1 CE5 – or at least part of it. There was also a pic of a cutdown LHD HK500 on the La Carrera PanAmericana.
The current seller of HK-1 CF2, acting on behalf of his grandfather, says the car has been dry stored in Essex, the location being at Southminster, just north of Burnham-on-Crouch, for 25 years. It was owned Cliff Barow in 1990 and presumably the seller is a relative of his.
Pictures of the car show it to be as one would expect to find it after 25 years in a barn: fairly dirty although there is no sign of major rust. Some parts are not fitted but appear to be available; the steering wheel is non-standard and the carpets don’t appear to be there. But you never know what else you might find!
It is for sale at £125,000 and in need ‘of a major overhaul’ not to say restoration. As this is likely to cost close to £100k, the price would appear to be optimistic, but there’s a stern warning from the seller that ‘we are fully aware of the value of this vehicle and will not tolerate time-wasters or day dreams(sic).’ You have been warned! They also have a nice Thrupp and Maberly Rolls Royce for the rather more realistic £20,000.