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Princess Diana’s Ford Escort sold for over $760,000 at auction

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

Diana drove a 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.

“It’s a small moment in history, ladies and gentlemen,” the auctioneer said as he opened a bid of 100,000 pounds ($117,000) – an opening figure that had already surpassed the previous record for a similar car painted white. In, was sold last year. The final price, including a 12.5 percent buyer’s premium, was over $850,000.

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The sale took place just days before the 25th anniversary of a car accident in Paris that killed Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed. She wasn’t behind the wheel of that car—a Mercedes-Benz S-280—when she crashed at high speed early on August 31, 1997.

The princess, and the memorabilia that marked her life, held public appeal long after her death. Last year, a piece of cake from the royal wedding of Prince Charles, 40, and perhaps not fit for consumption – another went under the hammer at auction, going for nearly $2,000.

Saturday’s auction attendees certainly appeared eager to hold a piece of UK history and a memento for the “People’s Princess”, cheering as bids from Coventry and Cheshire, and when major bids were held abroad When they moved, they were excited.

“It’s going to be like the Elgin Marbles. There will be a ban on sending it abroad,” quipped the auctioneer, referring to a series of 2,500-year-old sculptures that are the subject of one of the longest cultural disputes in Europe (Over the years, many have tried to persuade the British Museum to return to Greece.)

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Classic car prices have soared in recent years as people put their wanderlust on other ventures such as cars, real estate and art during the coronavirus pandemic.

Diana’s car was eventually sold to a buyer in a bucolic Cheshire village south of Manchester, favored by British Premier League soccer players.

The auctioneer described the vehicle as an “unblemished example” of the Ford Escort, one of the best-selling cars of the 1980s in Britain. Known as the “people’s sports car,” it ranges from basic to fully souped-up sport editions.

It was a rare black version of the car, apparently ordered at the request of palace security officials, who wanted Diana to drive a more discreet vehicle. She preferred to drive herself, with a bodyguard in the passenger seat.

Also on sale was Saturday The 1973 Black Rover P5 carrying Margaret Thatcher to Buckingham Palace before her appointment as Britain’s first female prime minister and the 2015 Land Rover Defender featured in the 2015 James Bond film “Spectre”.

The auction house said the Escort was one of several world car sales records broken on Saturday. Even the auctioneer appeared surprised as the bidding went up: “£550,000 on a Ford Escort. I’ve never said that before.”

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