Arwel Richards, a classic car specialist at Silverstone Auctions, polishes the Ford Escort ahead of auction. (Photo: via Associated Press)
The late Princess of Wales drove the car for nearly three years beginning in August 1985 and was seen with the vehicle outside boutique stores in Greater London’s Kensington and Chelsea borough. Silverstone Auctions, the company leading the sale, told auction attendees that it was the “car of the day.”
The auction house had warranted reason to say so, as the Ford was initially expected to sell for as little as 100,000 pounds, according to CNN. Auctioneer Jonathan Humbert eventually received the most telephone bids the company had seen in 12 years, however.
The car ended up fetching more than six times the earlier sale estimate. Silverstone said the bidding pitted an Emirati buyer against a Brit at the £450,000 mark.
Telephone bids arrive for the Ford Escort RS Turbo on Saturday, Aug. 27. (Photo: via Associated Press)
The winner, an unidentified Cheshire resident, now possesses the car of a former royal, which had been driven just under 25,000 miles before the princess stopped using it, according to Arwel Richards, a classic car specialist with Silverstone.
Ahead of the sale, Richards said the eventual owner would have one of “the finest preserved examples of this model anywhere, and also the slice of social history that comes with the car.”
“This car was known as the ‘people’s sports car’ and the fact it was driven by the People’s Princess just nails it,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.
Diana’s personal outings in the vehicle — which was typically made in white but painted black “for discretion,” according to Silverstone — were “a very brave choice,” Richards told Reuters.
“All the other members of the royal family would be driving around London in the back… of an official car,” he reportedly said. “And she’s driving in a car… that you would see on a housing estate not outside the palace.”
Diana famously died after a limousine crash in France’s Pont de l’Alma tunnel on Aug. 31, 1997, when her driver tried speeding away from paparazzi on motorcycles. Next week will mark the 25th anniversary of her death at age 36.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.