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*Please note that the brakes will require servicing before any use.
This 1959 Facel Vega was brought to the US by importer Max Hoffman, whose singular efforts to bring foreign cars to the US after WWII introduced American drivers to European marques like Alfa Romeo, BMW, Fiat, Austin-Healey, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, MG, and Porsche.
There was little competition for the four-seat luxury tourer in its day, able to go from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 147 mph; only a Ferrari was faster. The Chrysler TorqueFlite automatic transmission was legendary in its time – earning accolades for its trouble-free smoothness – and was often compared to that of a Rolls-Royce.
This Facel Vega has had two previous owners. Before the current owner took possession of the vehicle in 2007, the car was safely kept in storage for 35 years.
The Vega then underwent an extensive concours-quality, body-off restoration by what the consignor considers to be the dream team of Facel Vega aficionados, led by “Facel Larry” Gesiakowski of WGM Auto Restorations in Chicago. Paint and bodywork were carried out by the award-winning painter and fabricator Dave Shuten; and the engine and transmission were rebuilt by George Riehl, longtime president of the Chrysler 300 Club International, Inc. Mark Morgan, president of the Facel Club USA, and Hans Ruhé, the heart and soul of Amicale Facel Holland car club, were instrumental in procuring parts and providing expert technical support.
The results are nothing less than spectacular and include a luxurious, restored, posh red Connolly leather interior; refurbished aircraft- style dash featuring three-speed push-button transmission, a period-appropriate Blauplunkt car radio, gauges, and tachometer; and a classic Nardi Torino steering wheel and Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels for finishing touches. It is one of the first cars to feature a middle console over the gearbox. The wraparound windshield offers excellent visibility, and the period-correct sunburst-pastel yellow exterior, in combination with the interior, is standout. The car is in excellent condition and has logged a reported 41,000 miles at the time of cataloguing.
With gorgeous coachwork and in a class by itself, it’s no wonder this Facel Vega has already been nominated for the prestigious 2013 Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance, the only concours of the year that will have a class devoted to the Facel Vega. The nomination and invitation are transferable to the new owner. There is no need for the new owner to limit himself or herself to just one show with a car of this uncommon styling. To quote Facel Vega fan Tom McCahill – who wrote for Mechanix Illustrated magazine and boasted a large following as a road test writer – the HK 500 is “sexier than the Place Pigalle and throatier than a Russian basso... a sporting piece of equipment that looks like money... a car to be appreciated as a remarkable and wonderfully satisfying road companion.”