The black Ford Escort RS Turbo was driven from August 1985 to May 1988 and was sold at Silverstone racetrack in Northamptonshire . Although the RS Turbo Series 1 was only made in white it was painted black to give the Princess discretion when she was driving around.
The Princess was photographed with the RS Turbo Series 1 outside the fashionable boutique shops of Chelsea and Kensington.
Engineers at the Ford factory were given the task of modifying the vehicle for the Princess in what was dubbed a “stealth makeover”.
This included fitting a regular five-slat front grille and a secondary rear-view mirror for the protection officer with a radio in the glove box.
Diana preferred to drive her own car with a member of the Royal Protection Command (SO14) sitting in the passenger seat.
The car only has 24,961 miles on the clock and has been detailed to a nut and bolt concours standard.
It has a lifetime tracker fitted which can be transferred to a new owner along with a spare key, Ford Motor Company internal memos, and period registration documents.
Arwel Richards, a classic car specialist at Silverstone Auction who organised the auction said that the vehicle was a “fascinating” choice for the late Princess of Wales given her social status.
He said: “The RS Turbo is a driver’s car and the late Diana, Princess of Wales was clearly a fan, and it was a fascinating choice for the daughter of an earl, mother of the future king, and the daughter-in-law of the Queen to choose.
READ MORE: Prince Harry opens up on heartbreaking wish for Archie and Lilibet
“This car was known as the ‘people’s sports car’ and the fact it was driven by the People’s Princess just nails it.”
The car with the registration plate C462FHK was sold to a buyer in Cheshire.
Auctioneer Jonathan Humbert said that there had been huge interest in the car and it had received the highest number of telephone bids in 12 years.
The bidding began at £100,000 and was initially a contest between hopeful buyers in Dubai and Coventry.
However, around the £450,000 mark it became a contest between the Dubai bidder and a rival one from Cheshire, who ultimately placed the winning bid.
Earlier on Mr Humbert had described the car as a “piece of history”.
However when bidding climbed he exclaimed: “£500,00 for a Ford Escort? I’ve never said that before.”