A 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo S1 that once belonged to Princess Diana has sold for the equivalent of $857,712 at an auction, just a few days before her 25th death anniversary. The Escorts RS is very popular amongst car collectors; but thanks to this particular example’s royal connection, the customized black RS Turbo Series 1 hatchback ended up fetching more than 10 times the price of a “collector quality” 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo sold at auction in 2021, as pointed out by Bloomberg. The record-breaking Escort RS Turbo was auctioned at The Classic Sale organized by Silverstone Auctions that concluded on August 27. “We have sold a number of motorcars that have had a royal pedigree, but this car ticks every box in terms of history, rarity, condition, and mileage. The market adores early Ford RS models,” said Arwel Richards, a Silverstone Auctions classic car specialist, in a statement. “When royal cars come to auction, they’re usually Rolls-Royces or Range Rovers, so to offer the very best example of the working class hero’s sports hatchback with such provenance is perhaps unique and therefore very exciting.”
According to auctioneer Jonathan Humbert, Princess Diana’s Ford Escort RS Turbo had received the company’s largest number of telephone bids in the last 12 years. While people from all over the world joined the bidding war that ensued, an unnamed buyer from the UK made the winning bid. The Princess of Wales preferred to drive her own cars, including her three Ford Escorts. The RS Turbo S1 was owned by her from 1985 to 1988 and was often photographed driving the car around the restaurants and boutiques of Kensington and Chelsea. The hot-rodded Escort is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produces 132hp and drives the front wheels.
It was also the fastest variant in Escort history. Interestingly, the model was only sold in white. However, the automaker got its Special Vehicle Engineering department to finish Princess Diana’s car in black, making the example even more special. The car was returned to Ford Motor Company in May of 1988, after which it changed hands several times before becoming a part of one of the most notable collections of Ford RSs in the world. Currently, the Ford Escort RS Turbo S1 has 24,961 miles on the clock and is said to be in outstanding condition.