VOLO, Ill. — The Volo Auto Museum has a special collection called Treasures of the Vault that is available for viewing as part of their trolley tour that runs every Saturday and Sunday. These are cars that were owned or used by the rich and famous. One of the well-known cars in the collection is the 1996 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur III that was used by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, during her visit to Chicago in 1996. This car was the last Rolls-Royce to carry her in the U.S. – and now they have the first Rolls-Royce to carry her as well.
Recently the museum acquired a 1979 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith from Farley Berman who owns the world’s most extensive private collection of historic weaponry. He considered this car the most valuable piece in his collection, valuing it at over $2 million.
It was bought new by the British Embassy in Washington for Royal visits. It took three years – and $300,000 – to fully armor it against bombs, bullets and gas, and the car weighs 10,000 pounds.
Included with the car was extensive documentation. A particularly interesting item is the diplomatic log book. For security reasons, very detailed records were kept, covering even seemingly mundane tasks such as who fueled the car, where and when and at what cost. But more interesting than the service logs are of course the names of VIPs that rode in it. Prince Charles’ name is seen quite often, and one date in particular that stands out is November 1985.
During this trip, Prince Charles was accompanied by his new wife, Princess Diana, for whom this was her first visit to the United States. The museum has acquired photos and video of the Royal couple in the car, including one video that shows the car arriving at the front of the White House where they were greeted by President Ronald Reagan and the First Lady.
So, for the first time ever, Lady Di’s Rolls-Royce from her first visit to America will be available for viewing by the public along with her last Rolls-Royce as they sit side by side like magnificent bookends. It will be viewable until Jan. 1 as part of Volo’s Historic Trolley Tour.
In honor of Princess Diana’s commitment to charity work, the Volo Auto Museum will reduce each adult trolley admission by $2 for those who bring in a perishable food item. The food will be donated to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. For details visit the museums website at volocars.com
For current values on Rolls-Royces, check out our 2012 Collector Car Price Guide.
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