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U.S. Motor Museum Buys Diana’s Car

August 5, 1998

LONDON (AP) _ The small silver car Prince Charles gave Princess Diana as an engagement present has been sold to an American auto museum via the Internet, the vendor said.

Keith Lawson said Tuesday he did not know which museum bought the car and would not disclose the price. But Lawson said he turned down more lucrative offers in order to keep the car in the public eye.

``They have come to me with a price and I have said yes. The sale has not been completed, but this is exactly what I wanted,″ Lawson said.

He said the deal was brokered by Classic Car Auto Network, a California Internet car dealership.

In Britain, the 1981 Ford Escort Ghia had attracted offers only from private bidders who wanted to keep it for themselves, he said.

``I was hoping to keep the car in England, but nobody came forward,″ Lawson said. ``The most important thing was for it to go to a museum ... If it is this important and valuable, people should be able to see it.″

Lawson said he wanted to wrap up the sale before the Aug. 31 anniversary of Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris, because it would be inappropriate to have it on the market as millions mourn her.

Lawson, an antique clock dealer from Scratby in eastern England, bought the car for his daughter three years ago at a Sotheby’s auction for $9,800.

The car’s value has skyrocketed since Diana’s death and Lawson said he was forced to sell it because he could not find anyone to insure it.

The car, with a silver frog mascot on the hood, has more than 80,000 miles and would probably be worth around $985 without its Diana connection.

The silver frog is a copy of the original mascot Diana had attached to the hood. She kept the original when she sold the car.

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