Facel-Vega HK500 slinks under radar

Facel-Vega HK500 slinks under radar

Mint low-mileage bargain sneaks through Bonhams’ Goodwood auction at a snip

I’ve always adored the glam jetage flamboyance of the Facel-Vega HK500, not to mention the drumbeat from its 5.7-litre Chrysler Hemi V8. Many times I’ve been close to adopting an HK into the family, but for various reasons – time, money or being distracted by other classics – I’ve never managed to seal a deal sweet enough. And they haven’t been cheap for as long as I can remember.

For decent well-restored cars prices over the last decade have run between £100k to £150k with the very best, or celebrity-connected, HKs making in excess of £200,000. Projects – usually only for the wildly optimistic – have run at £40k to £60k, depending on how rusty/incomplete/knackered/neglected they are. But we’ve just all missed what I reckon could rank as the Facel-Vega bargain of the decade. At Bonhams’ April Goodwood Members’ Meeting sale, a very fine silver French-market supplied 1960 manual in left-hand-drive was knocked down for a premium-inclusive £66,700. Now take a deep breath. This wasn’t a worn-smooth ruin that needed everything, but a gorgeous, shiny, slinky coupé with lovely body, chrome, interior and under-bonnet area. A recent import into the UK, there was 5% duty to pay and having been a long-term static exhibit, it needed straightforward recommissioning.

But here’s where things get special. There was an amendment in the catalogue that bidders may have missed saying that the HK was auctioned in the US in 2009, described in the catalogue with 9577 miles – with just four added since. It was bought in 1960 as a wedding gift, staying with the same family’s estate for nearly 50 years, which meant that tantalising low mileage was likely accurate – less than 10,000 miles from new.

The surface finishes – particularly the hand-painted faux wooden dash — certainly looked mint, perfect and unrestored. And being the rare manual, with the Pont-a-Mousson four-speed, made it even more collectable.

This was an absolute stellar buy at half the price it should have been. I don’t know what it all means either. But that such a superlative condition HK500 with such a low mileage was sold in open auction for just £67k should give us a glimmer of hope that classic car legends like this may slowly becoming more affordable.

‘This was an absolute stellar buy at half the price it should have been’
  • VALUE 2018 £220k
  • VALUE NOW £170k
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