UPDATE 8/27/2022: The Ford Escort bought at public sale for the equal of $857,712 at public sale at this time, which Bloomberg Information identified at this time is greater than 10 occasions the value of a 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo bought at public sale in 2021 that was “collector high quality” however didn’t have the Diana provenance.
One month earlier than the royal couple married in the summertime of 1981, Prince Charles gave Girl Diana Spencer a silver engagement current. No, not jewellery; it was a Ford Escort Ghia sedan, with the 1.6-liter engine. The automobile had 4 doorways and 79 horsepower and was in all respects fairly bizarre and even deeply boring. In an period of austerity for a lot of British commoners, Charles’s present broadcast a message of respectability: the latest addition to the royal family would upset no teacups. However as we now know, a coming tempest was brewing, and simply 4 years later, Princess Di was approaching enhance.
Particularly, Her Royal Highness was spooling up the enhance on this little rocket, her 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo, which coming up on the market at public sale on August 27. It was by no means bought on this aspect of the pond, however any fan of performance-oriented Fords could have clocked the RS designation and accurately deduced that the princess’s tastes prolonged to a fairly severe scorching hatch. Maybe even to some royal hoonery?
Diana’s Escorts had been third-generation automobiles, and he or she had three of them. After the rear-wheel-drive Mark I and Mark II Escorts—each nonetheless common with collectors and classic rally racers—Ford’s European small household automobile now got here with front-wheel drive. It was a contemporary selection for a contemporary British household. It took the Escort simply two years to be topped the bestselling automobile in Britain.
Looking for to fire up just a little pleasure to fend off the likes of the Volkswagen GTI, Ford developed a tuned model of the two-door Escort hatchback known as the XR3 (later XR3i, as gas injection arrived). The XR3 was scrappy sufficient for its day, however the comparatively new expertise of turbocharging promised efficiency dividends.
The Escort RS Turbo was the quickest the third-generation Escort bought. Due to an aluminum head, an uprated camshaft, and manufacturing facility turbocharging, output was 132 horsepower at 6000 rpm, with a boot of 133 pound-feet of torque at 3000 rpm. Not large figures by at this time’s requirements, however pitted towards a curb weight that was barely over 2000 kilos, the RS Turbo was a lot fast.
Initially, Diana changed her meekly humdrum Ghia with a bright-red convertible Escort, however the transfer upset her safety element. The droptop was just too high-profile. Messages handed backwards and forwards between the Royalty Safety Command and Ford’s PR division, and a compromise was reached. Diana would get the Escort RS Turbo she needed, painted black on the manufacturing line, the higher to fly under the radar.
Whereas virtually all different Escort RS Turbos had been white, the three black automobiles had been constructed for Diana and her safety element. She drove hers typically between 1985 and 1988 and was typically noticed driving round London, normally with the younger princes William and Harry within the again seat. A plainclothes detective rode shotgun.
One of many three, the automobile Diana herself drove, crosses the block at Silverstone Auctions on August 27. The automobile is obtainable at no reserve and is predicted to fetch not less than six figures, owing to its connection to a nonetheless beloved public determine.
In a time when fractures had been showing in her fairy-tale marriage, this unlikely scorching hatch represented yet one more side of Princess Diana’s independence. The expectation was that she could be trendy however dutiful, a four-doored Folks’s Princess. What emerged was a freer spirit, one decided to maintain her personal fingers firmly on the wheel.
In her scorching little turbocharged Escort, out operating round city, Diana did simply that. Revs climbing, turbo spooling torque, bodyguard nervously reaching for the grab-handle on the roof as the following sharp nook approaches. She lived her life like a cambelt within the wind.