1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Princess Diana's Ford Escort sells for £650,000 at auction

August 28, 2022

Silverstone Auctions said there was "fierce bidding'' for the Ford Escort RS Turbo Series 1 that was specially adapted for the Princess of Wales, who drove it in the 1980s.

The Ford Escort RS Turbo Series 1, that belonged to the late Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana's Ford on the auction floor. She was often pictured with the car in 1980s.Image: Alberto Pezzali/AP Photo/picture alliance

A car used and driven by Diana, Princess of Wales, sold for a whopping £650,000 (around €765,000 or $762,000) at auction on Saturday.

The late British Royal was often seen driving the Ford Escort RS Turbo Series 1 around Chelsea and Kensington in London, sometimes with Prince William sitting in a special car seat in the back.

Diana liked driving herself around, which meant her bodyguard was relegated to the passenger seat.

People's princess shunned fancy royal cars

For the princess to drive the vehicle was "a very brave choice," Arwel Richards, classic car specialist at Silverstone Auctions, said.

"All the other members of the royal family would be driving around London in the back... of an official car... and she's driving in a car... that you would see on a housing estate not outside the palace," Richards said.

Diana preferred to use her own car instead of the royal family's stately Rolls-Royces and Daimlers.

The Escort was not a luxury vehicle but one of the UK's best-selling cars, although the RS Turbo was something special and out of reach of many less wealthy Escort drivers.

Ford specially adapted it for Diana to make it more discreet with features such as a second rear view mirror (so her security detail could keep an eye on cars behind from the passenger seat if she was driving) and a radio in the glove box.

It was also painted black at the palace's request to make it more inconspicuous — Ford typically only sold the exclusive, sporty version of its popular compact family saloon in white — and it had a grill from the standard model Escort to conceal its added power and value.

She drove the car between 1985 and 1988 and clocked 6,800 miles (roughly 10,950 kilometers) in it before returning it to Ford. The car remains very low mileage for its age, with just under 25,000 miles on the clock.

The car was auctioned for £650,000 plus the buyer's premium and tax bringing the total sales price to £730,000.

Unforgotten: Princess Diana, queen of hearts

Anniversary of Diana's death

The sale comes as interest in Diana's life remains huge, a quarter-century after her death, fueled in some part in recent years by the success of the Netflix series "The Crown"

The auctioneers said the sale attracted "a supreme amount of global press and publicity interest."

Last year another Ford Escort previously owned by Diana, a 1981 silver 1.6L Ghia saloon that was an engagement present from Prince Charles, sold at auction for £52,000.

Next week marks 25 years since Diana died, aged 36, when a limousine in which she was a passenger crashed in a Paris tunnel.

lo/msh (AFP, Reuters)