Despite having access to an armored Rolls-Royce, Princess Diana of Wales preferred to wheel around town in her red Ford Escort cabriolet in the mid-1980s. Needless to say, her security detail wasn’t too thrilled with that. She didn’t want to give up her hot hatch, but she also needed more protection, so she met her security detail in the middle and commissioned Ford’s Special Vehicle Engineering department to build her a custom 1985 Escort RS Turbo S1 hatchback. Apparently, the Princess was insistent on an Escort RS Turbo model—an excellent choice, we think, and one that, next to her prolific philanthropy is just one more twinkle in her sparkling Royal image.
Ford only offered the ’85 Escort RS Turbo S1 in white, but the automaker suggested on painting Diana’s Escort black and installing a base-model Escort’s front grille to help keep the car’s appearance low key for the Princess’s privacy.
One of the more interesting features is the secondary rear view mirror which was meant to be used by the Royalty Protection Command officer who accompanied Diana in the passenger seat whenever she drove her Escort. While Diana checked the normal rearview mirror for lane changes or parking maneuvers, the Protection Command officer used their mirror to monitor threats or paparazzi following behind. There also was a special compartment in the glovebox for a radio, so the officer remained in contact with their team.
Five years before Princess Diana died in a car accident, her 1985 Escort RS Turbo S1 was given away as part of a radio contest; it had only 12,000 miles on the odometer. After that, the Escort changed hands a few times until, in 2008, it ended up in the possession of a prolific Ford Escort collector in the U.K.
Now with 24,961 miles, Diana’s Ford Escort was sold at Silverstone Auctions for the staggering price of £722,500 (approximately $842,207). We are unaware who purchased the Escort but whoever it was, really wanted this piece of automotive and royal history.
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