HomePick of the DayChrysler V8-powered French GT 1961 Facel Vega HK500

Chrysler V8-powered French GT 1961 Facel Vega HK500


Big, fast and French, Facel Vega is not a well-known collector brand in the U.S. despite being powered by a mighty Chrysler V8, slathered with luxury features and trim, and popular among the Hollywood elite during the 1960s.

The Pick of the Day is a 1961 Facel Vega HK500 in dark Brunswick Blue and a red interior with blue piping on the leather seats, a beautiful treatment for this handsome coupe. This is one of the rarer models with dual carburetors, which boost the 6.3-liter engine to 385 horsepower.

The Facel Vega might just have a Frank Sinatra connection
The Facel Vega might just have a Frank Sinatra connection

Chassis No. HK1 BR6X was originally sold in Pasadena, although not to a little old lady. As unsubstantiated legend has it, it was purchased by Reprise Records, which was founded in 1960 by none other than Frank Sinatra, according to the Marina del Rey dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com. The Chairman was well-known for his fondness for distinctive automobiles.

Built by the Facel auto company of France, the Vega was launched at the 1954 Paris Salon. Originally fitted with the 4.5-liter Hemi V8 from the DeSoto Firedome, the Vega’s flashy American-influenced styling was penned by Jean Daninos. The ultra-luxurious interior was impeccably designed and tailored, with an upright wood dashboard festooned with gleaming chrome switches and trim.

The interior is sumptuously furnished
The interior is sumptuously furnished

This Face Vega was stored from the late 1970s through 2010, when it was treated to a “comprehensive restoration including a rebuild of the engine and transmission,” the dealer says.  

“A new aluminum radiator was installed and a complete chassis refurbishment was conducted followed by a bare-metal repaint,” the seller notes. “Subtle upgrades were implemented with dual-circuit power brakes (and) power windows. Also recently equipped with modern AC.”

Facel Vega, Chrysler V8-powered French GT 1961 Facel Vega HK500, ClassicCars.com Journal
The dual-carburetor V8 generates 385 horsepower

The Vega is still very presentable after a recent “25k freshen up,” the dealer says. It recently won awards at California concours events but the paint is starting to show its age and could use some attention, the dealer notes. The car comes with its original fitted luggage.

A very stylish and exclusive automobile in its day, and a desirable collector car today, the Facel Vega is priced at $185,000 for a rarity that should get plenty of attention, as well as being easy to maintain with its durable Chrysler engine and automatic transmission.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day


Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. I remember vividly seeing Frank driving one of these in a car mag around that time. It always stuck with me when ever I saw a FV I thought of him.

  2. Maybe I’m misremembering, but it seems to me that I read Dean Martin also had a FV, perhaps a couple years later than this. I was born in late ’59, and grew up with my Mom’s fascination with the "Rat Pack" and adoration of Mr. Presley, as well as my father’s and uncle’s Beatles/Stones/Who + Cash, Twitty/Tillis, and Hank Sr. worship (Dad liked Jim Reeves & Slim Whitman, too, and while building the dirt cars and street racers in our central Indiana garage often played his mix tapes on the old Tascam reel-to-reel; I defy y’all to come up with a more musically jarring segue than Reeves’ "Please Release Me" into "My Generation" from the Who. Dad & crew dug it, I came to as well).
    Our house was full of the fan mags and paraphernalia of the day; all went in ’71 when the folks divorced. I’d give a lot to have just the mags I used to liberate from Mom’s basket, for the "cars of the stars" articles, if nothing else.
    I miss the days when the Hollywood/music industry crowd strove for class and style, rather than self serving ostentation and "bling". That one word says it all. Don’t enjoy your wealth in taste, shove it in everybody’s face! Sigh.
    Would love to see an article about earlier Hollywood cars- really, Mr. McQueen, cool as he was, has lately been done to death. Lots more cool Hollywood connected iron out there besides ten thousand Highland Green Mustangs and dorked-up imports with more plastic than Joan Rivers. Whadda ya say? Doable?

  3. Dean Martin (and Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank SInatra) all drove Ghia L6.4’s but Dino didn’t drive a Facel Vega. That said, the car shown does NOT have a "385 hp" engine, nor did any other 1961 Chrysler powered car. Perhaps the tale teller meant "375 hp", which was the 300G engine, but I really, really doubt that, even with 2×4’s. Great car though, probably one of the the three best uses of Chrysler power in a foreign car ever, the other two being Monteverdi (Hai, anyone?) and Ghia, whether you prefer the Dual Motors version or the L6.4…..


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