1959 Facel Vega HK500 Coupe

Some of the most exciting and flamboyant sports cars in history were produced in Paris and its surrounding areas through the first half of the 20th century. Delahaye, Delage, Talbot Lago and Panhard were some of the great marques that called this area home. However, performance and the French government’s extreme postwar taxation of higher horsepower vehicles did not mix. As a result, French performance vehicles were literally killed off by the mid 1950s.
Jean Daninos was an industrialist who employed 2,000 workers in his four FACEL factories and manufactured everything from kitchen sinks and office furniture to scooters and combustion chambers for deHavilland and Rolls-Royce jet engines. When Panhard cancelled manufacturing plans for their new model at Daninos’s Colombes plant, Jean saw his opportunity to build a great luxury performance vehicle that would once again bring worldwide prominence to a Paris-built car. Of course, due to French taxation he would have to manufacture his Facel cars mostly for export.
A foreign powerplant would best ensure the success of such an export venture, which led to Daninos selecting the technically superior Chrysler V8 engine. The new 383 Chrysler wedge engine sported dual four-barrel carburetors, pumped out 360 horsepower and propelled the 4,000-pound plus HK500 from 0 to 60 in a little over 8 seconds and to a top speed exceeding 140 mph.
Lance Macklin of HWM racing fame designed the chassis, while M. Brasseur and Daninos himself penned the sexy and cosmopolitan body styling. The Facel exuded opulence from bumper to bumper, and its fit and finish was second to none. Rust-resistant stainless steel was used for brightwork, while a lavish passenger cabin was trimmed in the finest woods and leathers. An amazing array of sparkling gauges and switches harkened the driver back to the days of the airplane-inspired Duesenberg instrument panel. The HK500 cost $9,795, an exorbitant sum for the time. Hence, Daninos targeted the rich and famous clientele of California.
The car pictured here is described as being a highly suitable and usable driver that benefited from a comprehensive restoration in the late 1980s. It is in presentable condition, showing some wear to the paint in the higher stress areas. The brightwork is in good condition while the engine and its compartment show signs of use. We are informed that this Facel was also shown at Pebble Beach in the early 1990s.