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Princess Diana is one of the most iconic and refreshing public figures our world has seen, especially at the time and context of her fame. The Royal family sits in a different place today than it did in Lady D’s day. Where today, Royals are regularly seen gallivanting in upper-crust cars with drivers, Princess Di had some different ideas that took form in her personal 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo S1. I dare say a princess has never had cooler car taste. But for any perspective princesses out there who might want to try, now’s your chance.

Why did Princess Diana drive such a cool car?

According to Car and Driver, a month before Prince Charles and Lady Di got married, the prince gave her an oddly un-Kingly gift; a silver 1.6-liter Ford Escort Ghia sedan. This British economy car only made 79 hp. Booooorrrriiiing. 

Fear not. Lady Di wasn’t going out with only the single, boring Escort. She had three different Escorts in her time, but the others weren’t quite so boring. She replaced the dinky Ghia sedan with a bright-red convertible Escort. While this was clearly an upgrade, the Royal security detail wasn’t thrilled about the drop-top. 

Car and Driver notes that the Royalty Protection Command and Ford’s PR division had some back forth on the convertible Escort. Eventually, a compromise was reached. The Princess would get the Escort RS Turbo she wanted, painted black on the production line to remain more low-profile.

Princess Diana’s Ford Escort RS Turbo is way too cool

Princess Diana's 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo
Princess Diana’s 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo | Silverstone Auctions

Unlike her silver wedding gift, her black Escort Turbo made an angry little 132 hp and 133 lb-ft of torque. You might be thinking that those numbers don’t seem very exciting. However, you have to consider that the third-gen Ford Escort RS Turbo barely weighed more than 2,000 lbs. The power-to-weight ratio meant the little Ford was still a ripper. 

The Ford Escorts didn’t come in black. Ford made them almost exclusively in white. However, Ford made three black ones; one for the Princess and two for her security detail. As we mentioned earlier, this was done to keep her anonymous. Never mind that Ford just gave them three extremely rare cars.

How much is Princess Diana’s Ford Escort RS Turbo worth? 

Rear end of the Princess Diana's 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo
Ford Escort RS Turbo | Silverstone Auctions

Of the three built for the Princess, the one she actually drove is heading to cross the auction block at Silverstone Auctions on August 27th. Car and Driver estimates the car will clear six figures. This feels like a no-brainer, given the rarity of the model, its custom color, and the fact that the coolest Royal drove it. And, not for nothing, but if you have paid attention to the current car auction landscape, you’ll find plenty of cars going for silly high prices.

While I don’t think we can possibly know what it was like to be the People’s Princess, I like to think of Princess Diana squealing tires out of the palace grounds, keeping her boost spooled, and smiling like a mad person because she was driving her car; because she was in charge. 


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