Turns out, having royalty attached to a car makes it worth more than some sports car.
Princess Diana is arguably one of the most iconic figures in history. Her name is universally known. Apparently, Princess Di was also a little bit of a gearhead. We knew the Queen had a thing for all things wheeled, but the Princess? News to us. Regardless, a mint example of one of Diana's personal cars just sold for a whopping $848,900 - or more than some Ford GTs- at auction. The car in question is something that would already be desirable forbidden fruit in America, a 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo S1.
Lengthy name aside, this is go-fast Ford royalty. Last royalty-related joke, by the way. The Escort RS was a sort of "people's sports car" in Britain back in 1985. The 3-door car was an early hot "hatch" (though not much of a hatch), which used a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder to drive the front wheels. That powertrain was paired with a 5-speed manual, propelling the car to 60 in roughly 8.3 seconds. It's not much, but we doubt the Princess' guard wanted her doing much more than that. Diana was reportedly insistent on driving herself places at times.
According to the auction house, the car, sold with just 24,961 miles on it, was the Princess' second Escort. Her guard, known as The Royalty Protection Command, SO14, reportedly deemed an Escort Cabriolet unsuitable. The soft top offered no protection and little privacy. Diana was reportedly insistent on this stealthier black Escort RS. Most wouldn't know the car was a performance car from looking at it, RS badges notwithstanding. Ford's Special Vehicle Engineering department also added a second mirror to the car for the bodyguard that rode with her at all times. A radio was also fitted in the glovebox for communication with the rest of the royal's escorts. The people. Not the cars.
Eventually, and tragically, the car fell out of Diana's ownership for obvious reasons. Despite being "the people's princess", it was reportedly unfitting for the future queen to be seen driving something so "pedestrian." It was sent back to Ford in May 1988, roughly nine years before Diana's passing. The car was sold to the manager of Ford's Government Sales department. Later, it was given away during a promotion by British radio station Kiss FM in 1993.
It stayed with the owner until 2008 when it was bought by a collector. Eventually, this same collector later sold it at auction and was likely handsomely rewarded for his stewardship of the car. It's not often a Ford sells for close to a million bucks, but it's easy to see why this one did.