NEC Classic Motor Show Sale 2016

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1994 Audi Cabriolet - Formerly the Personal Conveyance of Diana, Princess of Wales

Lot No.: 319

Registration: L449 TRP
Chassis Number: WAUZZZ8GZRA004422
Engine Number: NG156107
Number of cylinders: 5
CC: 2309
Year of Manufacture: 1994
Sold for (£): 54,000

Undoubtedly one of the five most influential women of the Twentieth Century, the late Diana, Princess of Wales was born 'The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer' on the 1st July 1961 in Norfolk. She received the title Lady Diana Spencer in 1975 when her father inherited his Earldom, and on her marriage in 1981 to The Prince of Wales at St Paul's Cathedral became Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Wales. In the fullness of time it was expected that she would become the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but sadly, fate would decree that was not to be.

During her marriage, the Princess was president or patron of over 100 charities, and her dedication to duty was remarkable, however, those pressures would take their toll, and in December 1992 it was announced that the Prince and Princess of Wales had agreed to separate. A year later, reeling under the massive media spotlight, the Princess announced that she would be reducing the extent of her public life in order to combine “a meaningful public role with a more private life”. Her search for freedom and privacy proved a touch optimistic as her 'freedom' was neatly balanced with the freedom of the press who, released from the control of the Royal Household Press Office, were omnipresent observing her every move. At one point in 1994, she was statistically the 'most photographed person on earth'.

Diana's chosen transport at this point, being no longer obliged to arrive in Royal Household limousines, was a sparkling metallic green Audi Cabriolet and naturally every time she left home the clatter of 1,000 camera shutters must have sounded like machine gun fire.

Her beloved Audi, L449 TRP, was a new 1994, 5-cylinder, automatic, 2.3-litre Cabriolet finished in Gomera Pearl with Parchment leather and cream carpets and was presented to her for her personal use by Dovercourt Audi of St Johns Wood, and first registered on the 7th March 1994. Very few cars are actually owned by the Royal Mews, apart from the limousines intended for State use, and most vehicles made available for 'Junior' royalty are provided by manufacturers hopeful of some beneficial exposure, and this Audi Cabriolet was no exception. At around 4,000 miles, and possibly in the hope of keeping the press guessing, the Audi was returned to Dovercourt.

Ian Campbell Dale is a well known and much respected political commentator, broadcaster, publisher and author and in July 1994, having been let down by Audi who had promised his new car in time for a motoring holiday in Germany, visited Dovercourt looking for a replacement and was immediately drawn to an immaculate, low mileage, metallic green, Audi Cabriolet. He was a little sceptical when told about its previous custodian, but when shown the photographs, bought it on the spot. After enjoying the car and its celebrity for a couple of years, he sold it to its third owner who, oddly enough, lived next to Kensington Palace. Obviously aware of its Royal connections the new custodian covered very few miles over the next 17 years and maintained it in excellent condition. It was purchased, in 2013, by our vendor and has only covered a handful of miles since with the odometer now indicating 21,412.

This well presented Audi Cabriolet remains registered as L449 TRP and is offered to auction in superb condition with its history file containing the relevant handbooks and manuals and several good-quality photos of Diana using the car, one of which has the young Princes in the back with the registration number clearly visible.

To conclude, it is an honour for Silverstone Auctions to offer a car with such special provenance, a car that was photographed extensively whilst being used by one of the most influential personalities of the Twentieth Century enjoying a period of independence with her two beloved sons, one of whom is destined to become the next King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.