Later this month, a Ford Escort once owned by Diana, Princess of Wales, will go on sale at a live auction in England held by Silverstone auctioneers. Diana used the small black hatchback to ferry her children to and from activities (that's a young Prince William in the back of the car in the photo above) and to drive herself, often with a member of her security detail sitting in the passenger seat, to personal appointments. The RS Turbo Series 1 model was built to her specifications and delivered in 1985. It has 22,961 miles on the odometer and will be offered without reserve.
This Ford Escort is not to be mistaken for her other Ford Escort, which was sold last summer by Reeman Dansie auctioneers for a tidy $72,000. That one, a 1981 silver model 1.6 Ghia, had been an engagement gift from Prince Charles, delivered a month before their wedding. As many people noted at the time, it was a relatively modest present, one that was perhaps meant to signal a new frugality blossoming among members of the royal family.
Nor should either of the above Ford Escorts be mistaken for Diana’s other Ford Escort, a red convertible 1.6i Cabriolet that she drove for a brief time between owning the two cars mentioned above. According to Silverstone, Diana’s security detail deemed that Escort’s bright paint job too noticeable and its convertible top insufficiently protected.
Much has been made about the Princess’s early choice of ride. The royal family, after all, was typically ferried around in Rolls-Royces, Aston Martins, and Land Rovers, to name a few. But the Escort was having a moment in Europe in the early 1980s, an economical-but-sporty utility player. And the RS Turbo was a “pretty serious hot hatch” as Car and Driver recently pointed out. That said, Diana eventually moved on. A few years later, she was driving a convertible again—an Audi 80 Cabriolet painted dark green.
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