Princess Diana’s 1985 Ford Escort sells for $764,000 at auction

Source: Washington Post

People view the 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo, previously owned by Princess Diana, on Aug. 27. (Joe Giddens/AP)

A souped-up version of a popular ’80s family car that once belonged to Princess Diana has sold for nearly $764,000 at auction, a record for the model, after a bidding war broke out between British and overseas collectors.

Diana drove the black 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo for nearly three years and was regularly pictured using it on trips to the posh London shopping strips of Chelsea and Kensington.

“This is a little moment of history, ladies and gentlemen,” the auctioneer said as he began the bidding at 100,000 pounds ($117,000) — a starting figure that already eclipsed the previous record for a similar car, in white, sold last year. The final price, including a 12.5 percent buyer’s premium, was more than $850,000.

Princess Diana died 25 years ago but endures as a role model for women

The sale came just days before the 25th anniversary of a car crash 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 early on Aug. 31, 1997.

The princess, and memorabilia marking her life, holds enduring public appeal long after her death. Last year, a slice of cake from her royal wedding to Prince Charles — 40 years old, and probably not fit for consumption — went under the hammer in another auction, going for about $2,000.

Those in attendance at Saturday’s auction certainly appeared eager to keep a slice of U.K. history and a memento to the “People’s Princess,” cheering as bids emerged from Coventry and Cheshire, and booing when the lead bids shifted abroad.

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