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Princess Diana’s old Ford Escort sells at auction for $97,000

Prince Charles gave the silver Ford Escort to Lady Diana as an engagement present in May 1981.

Prince Charles gave the silver Ford Escort to Lady Diana as an engagement present in May 1981. Photo: AAP

A Ford Escort once owned by Diana, Princess of Wales, has sold at auction to a museum in Chile for £52,640 ($97,000).

Lady Diana Spencer was given the silver 1.6-litre Ghia saloon by the Prince of Wales as an engagement present in May 1981, two months before they were married.

She often drove it to watch Charles play polo, and the bonnet features a silver frog – a copy of the original mascot given to the princess by her sister Sarah and which Diana kept when she sold the car.

The princess stopped using the vehicle soon after giving birth to Prince William in 1982. It was later bought for £6000 ($11,000) by an antiques dealer.

It had belonged to a royal fan, who drove it only sparingly without disclosing its history to her friends, since around 2000.

The vehicle was sold on Tuesday in an online auction by Reeman Dansie auctioneers, of Colchester, Essex, to a telephone bidder for £52,640 ($97,000).

Lewis Rabett, of Reeman Dansie, said the winning bid came from a museum in Chile and the car will be shipped there.

“Ending up in South America is testament to the level of interest globally that there’s been in the car,” he said.

“It’s also testament to Diana and her enduring legacy.”

The car still carries the licence plate it came with, WEV 297W, as well as its original paint and upholstery, and has 83,000 miles (134,000 kilometres) on the clock.

The Princess of Wales was hugely popular in Chile. In 2010, the Museo de la Moda in Santiago paid £192,000 ($352,000) for one of her first official gowns.

The revealing cut of the strapless, silk taffeta dress, and its striking black colour, caused a minor scandal when the then Lady Diana was pictured wearing it to a charity event in 1981.

But while some thought it too daring, it helped turn the 19-year-old royal bride-to-be into an overnight fashion icon.

-AAP

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