A month before the royal couple got married in the summer of 1981, Prince Charles gave Lady Diana Spencer a silver engagement present. No, it’s not jewelry. It was a Ford Escort Gear sedan with a 1.6-liter engine. This car he had four doors and he had 79 hp and was very mediocre in all respects, even very boring. In a time of austerity for many British commoners, Charles’ gift broadcast an admirable message: the latest addition to the royal family doesn’t upset the teacup. But as we now know , the next storm was brewing, and just four years later, Princess Di was gaining momentum.
Specifically, His Highness was hoisting a boost on this little rocket, a 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo. Up for auction this monthIt was never sold on this side of the pond, but any performance-minded Ford fan would have scored the RS designation and correctly guessed that the Princess’ tastes extended to some pretty serious hot hatches. You did. Maybe even a royal whore?
Diana’s escort vehicles are 3rd generation vehicles and she has owned 3 of them. After the rear-wheel drive Mark I and Mark II Escorts (both still popular with collectors and vintage rally racers), Ford’s small European family car is now front-wheel drive. It was a modern choice for a modern British family, and it took him just two years for the Escort to become the best-selling car in the UK.
Trying to whip up a little excitement to fend off the likes of the Volkswagen GTI, Ford developed a tuned version of the two-door Escort hatchback called the XR3 (later the XR3i, due to the advent of fuel injection). The XR3 was cheesy enough for its time, but relatively new turbocharging technology promised better performance.
The Escort RS Turbo was the fastest of the third-generation Escorts. Output was 132 horsepower at 6000 rpm and a boot of 133 lb-ft of torque at 3000 rpm thanks to an aluminum head, revised camshafts and a factory turbocharger. Not a big number by today’s standards, but the RS Turbo pitted against a curb weight of just over 2000 pounds was quick enough.
Initially, Diana replaced her tame tame gear with a bright red convertible escort, but the move confused her security details. Drop-tops were simply too popular. Messages flew back and forth between the Royalty Protection Command and her PR department at Ford, and a compromise was reached. Diana got the Escort RS Turbo she wanted painted black on her production line.
Almost all other Escort RS Turbos were white, but three black cars were made for Diana and her protective details. She drove the car frequently from her 1985 to her 1988 and is often spotted driving around London, usually with the young princes William and Harry in the back seat. was. A shotgun ridden by a plainclothes detective.
One of the three, driven by Diana herself, will cross the block on August 27th at the Silverstone auction.
At a time when fairytale marriages were cracking, this unlikely hot hatch represented another facet of Princess Diana’s independence. She was expected to be a modern yet loyal, four-door People’s Princess. What appeared in her was her freer spirit, someone determined to hold her hand tight.
Riding around town in her hot little turbocharged Escort, Diana did just that. And the next sharp curve is approaching. She lived her life like Campbert in the wind.
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Princess Diana’s turbo escort to be auctioned
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