A 1985 Ford Escort for $915,000? If it was owned by Princess Diana

What makes a used car worth more than the car itself? If it was owned by John Lennon. Or Muhammad Ali. Michael Schumacher, perhaps, or Stirling Moss.

This year’s edition from the Hagerty organization of its “Power List” makes for amusing reading even if you’re not on it. But you can make believe that you are.

Essentially, the list, which was launched only last year, tracks the impact of celebrity ownership of a vehicle on its value, as measured by its worth at auction. Nearly 400 sales of celebrity cars and bikes have been analyzed from around the world by Hagerty using market data and “expert” analytics.

Hagerty is aware, certainly, that famous folks — from royalty, sports, movies and music — grab gobs of attention from ordinary people. That’s why the 2023 Power List comprises these categories: Art Cars, Racing Drivers, Movies and TV, Musicians, Royalty, Screen Stars, Sporting Icons. But you don’t have to be a rock star or a F1 pilot to get listed: Princess Diana, besides an Escort Turbo RS that she owned between 1985 and 1988, numbered a convertible 1994 Audi 80 Cabriolet and a Jaguar XJS Cabriolet among her rides.

Here’s a look at some of the more notable entries:

Racing driver category: In pole position was an unlikely titleholder, a 1976 Ford Bronco. This was the car bought new by legendary Canadian Formula 1 driver Gilles Villeneuve and untouched since his death; it sold at the Aguttes auction in Paris last December for $148,000, a huge 210% increase over the $47,800 that Hagerty would value a regular example in the same condition. Just a note: The list doesn’t include race cars, only vehicles kept privately by the drivers.

Musicians: A 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow had been Freddie Mercury’s personal chauffeur-driven transport from 1979 until his death in 1991. Without celebrity ownership, Hagerty would value the Silver Shadow at a lowly $9,500, a car that would take a lot of time, effort and money to restore properly. But add in Mercury’s aura and bids ended at $362,500. “It’s no surprise that Mercury’s car dominated our Musicians list on the 2023 Hagerty Power List,” the company said.

Movies and TV: For those readers now emerging from hibernation since 1968, the news is that the historic Highland Green Mustang from “Bullitt” remains at the top of the Power List for the second year running. It sold for $3.74 million in 2020, nearly 16,000% higher than a standard 1968 Mustang GT in the same condition,

Sporting Icons: As a soccer hero, Diego Maradona might not have done as well in the U.S., but his 1992 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 “Turbo Look” cabriolet was offered at Bonhams’ Paris sale back in 2021. It was already a relatively rare car, one of 1,200 “Turbo Look” 964 cabriolets made by the factory, but the sale price of $526,000 was more than four times Hagerty’s normal value.

There’s more to read about the Power List here.

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