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Euro GT with thick US V8: Facel Vega HK 500 & amp; Jensen Interceptor

Ingolf Pompe
Facel Vega HK 500 and Jensen Interceptor
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It was actually an extremely daring idea to present a new luxury car in France in the mid-1950s. Jean Daninos did it anyway, although the big French brands such as Delage, Delahaye and Bugatti had long since stopped building series cars. In addition, the new luxury car brand F acel Vega almost unknown until its appearance in 1954.

Few automotive insiders knew that Facel was short for Forges et Ateliers de Constructions d'Eure-et-Loir, a factory that made metal stamping parts for kitchens, cars and planes. Facel also assembled complete cars on behalf of Ford, Panhard and Simca. The best known was the Ford (later Simca) Comète. The design of the coupé, drawn in the modern pontoon style, came from Jean Daninos, the complete technology from the Ford Vedette.

Ingolf Pompe
He's a Facel: The Facel Vega HK 500 is an icon among the coupés of the 50s.
Ingolf Pompe
The 7.2-liter V8 develops 284 hp at 4,800 rpm and presses 510 Nm onto the crankshaft. He's also happy to take a sip or two more over 100 km - you should expect 25 liters.

Luxury coupés for The beautiful and the rich

The much larger Coupé Facel Vega FV to FV4 and its successor, the HK 500, which was created in-house, managed to be valued by the beautiful and the rich as a comfortable and fast luxury coupé. Proud Facel Vega owners included Tony Curtis, Ava Gardner, Stirling Moss and Ringo Starr. Some Facel Vega also appear in films, for example a HK 500 in 'Do you love Brahms?' with Ingrid Bergman and Ives Montand.

Much of the success of the Facel Vega HK 500 is due to the generous motorization that was bought from Chrysler in the USA: the 6.3 liter V8 develops 390 SAE hp. With a four-speed manual transmission, the roughly 1.7 t coupé reached a top speed of 235 km /h.

That made the HK 500, presented in 1958, the fastest 2 + 2 coupé in the world - and probably one too most comfortable and luxurious. The powerful, quiet and low-vibration Ami-V8, which was also available with a women-friendly three-speed automatic, offered exquisite drive comfort. The standard equipment included a radio, electric windows, fog lights and more.

Jensen - fast and eccentric

Jensen, on the other hand, had it much easier than the newcomer with his Anglo-American hybrid coupé Interceptor from 1966 Facel Vega. The brand, which was founded in 1936, had a regular audience, at least in England, who were enthusiastic about the fast and eccentric automobiles. The predecessor C-V8, whose plastic body looked a bit quirky with the sloping double headlights, got its sprint from a Chrysler V8.

Ingolf Pompe
Interceptor- translated: the interceptor: The name fits, the design too. The Brit with his mighty 7.2 liter V8 catches up with almost everyone.

Goldfish bowl by Touring

The sheet steel body of the Interceptor was designed by Touring in Italy, which you can hardly tell from the deliberately simple front end. The 4.70-meter-long Briton rather wears his identification mark at the rear, where a huge panoramic rear window sits enthroned on the rounded rear of the car. In England this glass dome is called the 'Goldfish Bowl'. Underneath there is a spacious trunk. However, a screwed parcel shelf prevents loading under the roof. This is a sensible safety measure so that no luggage slips forward and perhaps obstructs the view during an 233 km /h emergency braking.

As with the Facel Vega, a Chrysler V8 works under the long bonnet, which is in In this case, 284 hard-hitting DIN HP is produced from a displacement of 7.2 liters, which is delivered to the rigid rear axle in a well-dosed manner via a three-speed automatic. During the test run by auto motor und sport , the Interceptor catapulted itself from 0 to 100 km /h in 8.6 s and thus on a par with the Ferrari 365 GT 2 + 2 and Maserati Indy. According to the factory, the HK 500 also took exactly the same time. But that is where the similarities between the two Chrysler hybrids end.

The Facel Vega welcomes its driver in the European luxury style of the late 1950s with noble wood and chrome-rimmed Additional instruments. The dashboard has moved far forward under the panoramic window. The automatic gears can be selected using push buttons. The Facel Vega HK 500 starts rolling impatiently even at idle. The Frenchman acknowledges spontaneous acceleration with a lift of his nose and a discreet whistle, which reminds you to be careful.

Before tight bends, you should reduce the speed so that the relatively softly sprung lower steering wheel stays on the road. And you can only go straight ahead with slight corrections to the steering wheel, which once required full concentration at over 200 km /h on a country road.

Facel Vega HK 500 calls for full concentration

Completely different in the more modern and significantly younger Jensen, whose interior is designed in the black security style of the seventies. Five additional instruments look at the driver at an angle and watch whether we are doing everything correctly. But as in the Facel Vega, we set the automatic to D, accelerate - and the world is ours. Thanks to wider tires and rack and pinion steering, the Jensen can be driven relatively precisely and to some extent sporty.

Here, too, Walter Percy Chrysler with his brand empire delivered the best that America's automotive technology had (and still has) to offer: one cultivated as well as potentOHV-V8.

This is how much the Facel Vega HK 500 and Jensen Interceptor cost

The much rarer Face Vega HK 500, produced in just 490 units, costs around 166,000 euros in good condition according to Classic Analytics and in condition 4 about 56,000 euros. Around 7,200 copies of the Jensen Interceptor were built between 1966 and 1976. For a good Coupé in condition 2 you have to plan around 49,000 euros, the Interceptor SP costs around 40,000 euros.


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