Princess Diana’s Ford Escort sells for more than $760,000 at auction



A souped-up version of a popular 1980s family car that once belonged to Princess Diana has sold at auction for nearly $764,000, a record for the model after a bidding war broke out between British and foreign collectors.

Diana drove the black 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo for nearly three years and was frequently photographed on trips to the chic London shopping streets of Chelsea and Kensington.

“This is a small moment in history, ladies and gentlemen,” said the auctioneer as he began bidding for £100,000 ($117,000) – a starting figure that already surpassed the previous record for a comparable car, in white, last year. . The final price, including a 12.5 percent buyer’s premium, was over $850,000.

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The sale took place just days before the 25th anniversary of a car accident in Paris that killed Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed. She was not behind the wheel of that car – a Mercedes-Benz S-280 – when it crashed at high speed on August 31, 1997.

The princess, and memorabilia marking her life, have lasting public appeal long after her death. Last year, a slice of cake from her royal wedding to Prince Charles – 40 years old, and probably unfit for consumption – went up for auction in another auction for about $2,000.

Those in attendance at Saturday’s auction certainly seemed eager to preserve a piece of British history and a memento of the ‘People’s Princess’, cheering as the bids came from Coventry and Cheshire, and cheering as the leading bids shifted abroad.

“This is going to be like the Elgin marbles. There will be an embargo on shipping abroad,” the auctioneer joked, referring to a series of 2,500-year-old sculptures that are the subject of one of the longest cultural disputes in Europe. (Over the years, many have tried to persuade the British Museum to return them to Greece.)

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The value of classic cars has skyrocketed in recent years as people trapped during the coronavirus pandemic poured their wanderlust into other ventures such as cars, real estate and art.

Diana’s car was eventually sold to a buyer in a rural Cheshire village just south of Manchester, which is beloved by British Premier League footballers.

The auctioneer described the vehicle as a “flawless example” of the Ford Escort, one of Britain’s best-selling cars of the 1980s. Known as the ‘people’s sports car’, it ranged from simple to fully souped-up sports editions.

It was a rare black version of the car, apparently ordered at the request of palace security officials who wanted Diana to drive in a more discreet vehicle. She preferred to drive herself, with a bodyguard in the passenger seat.

Saturday was also on sale a 1973 black Rover P5 which Margaret Thatcher drove to Buckingham Palace for her appointment as Britain’s first female Prime Minister and a 2015 Land Rover Defender featured in the 2015 James Bond film ‘Spectre’.

The Escort was one of a number of world car sales records broken on Saturday, the auction house said. Even the auctioneer seemed surprised when the bidding escalated: “£550,000 on the Ford Escort. I’ve never said that.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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