In the summer of 1994 I decided to order my dream car - a brand new Audi Cabriolet. This was the car to be seen in in those days. I had ordered it to be delivered at the beginning of July in order to go on a European motoring holiday with my American friend, Daniel Forrester later in the month.
Photo: Glenn Harvey
A week before the car was due to arrive the dealer rang up and informed me it would be delayed for a month. I cancelled it and immediately went round a host of London Audi dealers to try to find an alternative.
I saw one on the forecourt of Dovercourt in St John’s Wood. It was turquoise with a black roof and white leather seats. It was almost new and had only done 4,000 miles. I couldn’t understand why anyone would trade in a car like that so quickly. “What’s the story behind that car?” I asked the salesman. He laughed and informed me it had previously been owned by Princess Diana. “Yeah, right,” I said. He then proceeded to show me the documentation and pictures of her in it. “I’ll have it,” I said.
And so started a love affair with Audi Cabriolets. It was the first of three I owned over the next ten years.
A year later I got a company car - an other Audi Cabriolet so I decided to sell the 'Diana car' at auction, expecting to make a big profit. I didn’t. Had I waited another year, I certainly would have, given Princess Diana was killed in the August of 1997. Indeed, I was told that the person who bought it from me sold it for £1 million. I was never quite sure whether to believe that.
There's another story attached to the 'Diana' car. A year earlier I had met John, who’s been my partner ever since. Indeed, it was the Princess Diana Audi that brought us together. A mutual friend (OK, a one night stand...) introduced us as he knew John, a total car nut, would really like to see it. So he came up to London one evening, and the rest is history. This was in August 1995. This august we celebrate our silver anniversary.
The car has come up for auction a couple of times in recent years and earlier this year failed to reach its reserve of £50,000. It's now up for auction again for the lower price of £35-40,000. I'd love to buy it back, but there's no way I'd pay that, given I sold it for £23,000!
The picture above has been used in various newspapers recently. I should point out that the two kids are not Harry and William. They are the son and daughter of Swiss friends of mine who I visited on the motoring holiday referred to above!
The Daily Mail recently published an article about the car and the fact that it's coming up at auction again. The auction will take place at the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show 2020, held at the NEC, Birmingham on the weekend of 27-29 of March.