Princess Diana’s Turbo Escort up for Auction


A person month in advance of the royal pair married in the summer of 1981, Prince Charles gave Lady Diana Spencer a silver engagement existing. No, not jewellery it was a Ford Escort Ghia sedan, with the 1.6-liter motor. The automobile had four doors and 79 horsepower and was in all respects really everyday and even deeply monotonous. In an period of austerity for several British commoners, Charles’s reward broadcast a concept of respectability: the latest addition to the royal domestic would upset no teacups. But as we now know, a coming tempest was brewing, and just four decades later on, Princess Di was coming on increase.

ford escort rs turbo diana of wales

Silverstone Auctions

ford escort rs turbo diana of wales

Specially, Her Royal Highness was spooling up the raise on this minor rocket, her 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo, which coming up for sale at auction this month. It was hardly ever bought on this facet of the pond, but any fan of functionality-oriented Fords will have clocked the RS designation and the right way deduced that the princess’s tastes prolonged to a very severe scorching hatch. Maybe even to some royal hoonery?

ford escort rs turbo diana of wales

Silverstone Auctions

Diana’s Escorts have been 3rd -eneration vehicles, and she had a few of them. Just after the rear-wheel-push Mark I and Mark II Escorts—both nonetheless well known with collectors and vintage rally racers—Ford’s European smaller household automobile now arrived with front-wheel drive. It was a modern day selection for a present day British loved ones. It took the Escort just two many years to be crowned the bestselling automobile in Britain.

Trying to get to stir up a tiny pleasure to fend off the likes of the Volkswagen GTI, Ford created a tuned model of the two-door Escort hatchback named the XR3 (later on XR3i, as fuel injection arrived). The XR3 was scrappy sufficient for its working day, but the fairly new technologies of turbocharging promised performance dividends.

The Escort RS Turbo was the swiftest the third-era Escort got. Many thanks to an aluminum head, an uprated camshaft, and manufacturing unit turbocharging, output was 132 horsepower at 6000 rpm, with a boot of 133 pound-feet of torque at 3000 rpm. Not big figures by present-day requirements, but pitted in opposition to a suppress weight that was scarcely over 2000 lbs ., the RS Turbo was loads swift.

To begin with, Diana replaced her meekly humdrum Ghia with a brilliant-pink convertible Escort, but the move upset her security depth. The droptop was just also superior-profile. Messages handed again and forth concerning the Royalty Protection Command and Ford’s PR division, and a compromise was arrived at. Diana would get the Escort RS Turbo she preferred, painted black on the creation line, the improved to fly underneath the radar.

Whilst pretty much all other Escort RS Turbos had been white, the three black cars ended up constructed for Diana and her protection detail. She drove hers usually between 1985 and 1988 and was generally noticed driving all-around London, commonly with the youthful princes William and Harry in the back seat. A plainclothes detective rode shotgun.

A single of the three, the car Diana herself drove, crosses the block at Silverstone Auctions on August 27. The auto is presented at no reserve and is envisioned to fetch at the very least 6 figures, owing to its relationship to a continue to beloved general public determine.

In a time when fractures have been showing in her fairy-tale marriage, this unlikely scorching hatch represented a single a lot more aspect of Princess Diana’s independence. The expectation was that she would be contemporary but dutiful, a 4-doored People’s Princess. What emerged was a freer spirit, a person identified to retain her personal arms firmly on the wheel.

In her warm small turbocharged Escort, out managing all-around town, Diana did just that. Revs climbing, turbo spooling torque, bodyguard nervously reaching for the get-manage on the roof as the upcoming sharp corner ways. She lived her existence like a cambelt in the wind.

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