Princess Diana’s ‘ordinary’ car sells for extraordinary $1.1 million

London: A car driven by Princess Diana in the 1980s sold for a whopping £650,000 ($1.1 million) at auction, just days before the 25th anniversary of her death.

Silverstone Auctions said there was “fierce bidding” for the black Ford Escort RS Turbo before the sale closed. The UK buyer, whose name was not disclosed, paid a 12.5 per cent buyer’s premium on top of the selling price, according to the classic car auction house.

Silverstone Auctions’ classic car specialist Arwel Richards polishes the 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo.Credit:PA

Britain and Diana’s admirers worldwide are preparing to mark a quarter century since her death. She died in a high-speed car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.

Diana drove the Escort from 1985 to 1988. She was photographed with it outside boutique shops in Chelsea and restaurants in Kensington. She preferred to drive her own car, with a member of her security team in the passenger seat.

At the time, royals typically drove luxury cars such as Bentleys, Aston Martins, and Jaguars.

For the princess to drive the vehicle was “a very brave choice,” Arwel Richards, classic car specialist at Silverstone Auctions, told Reuters earlier this week.

Diana arrives at a polo match at Windsor with Charles in his Aston Martin in 1984. She later drove off with a detective in her Ford Escort Cabriolet.Credit:Syndication International

“It remains the most daring choice of class-dividing motor car by any member of the Royal Family since,” the lot notes for the car stated, The Washington Post reported.

The princess had orginally preferred driving a red Ford Escort 1.6i Cabriolet, and was photographed driving it to Ascot in 1984, but was advised to switch to a more secure vehicle than the soft top convertible.

The RS Turbo Series 1 was typically manufactured in white, but she ordered it in black – the only such example world wide – to be more discreet. Ford also added features for her security, such as a second rear-view mirror for the protection officer, a radio in the glove box, and regular five-slat front grille.

The car has just under 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometres) on it.

Last year, another Ford Escort that Diana used sold at auction for £52,000 pounds.


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