1996 Rolls-Royce

Silver Spur

Exterior Color
Exterior Color

Princess Diana

From the Flying Lady on its hood to
the double-R emblem on its trunk, the black, 1996 Spur exudes understated
elegance -- the perfect conveyance for the 20th century's most luminous

That's what Vernon Smith determined after he was contacted by the
British Consulate in 1996 to arrange transportation for none other than Her
Royal Highness, the Princess of Wales. Princess Diana would spend three
June days casting a spell on Chicago and Evanston. The black Rolls Royce
with rich leather seats took her from airport to hotel, symposiums,
hospital bedsides and an elegant benefit gala where she raised money for
cancer research.

The car played a key role in Diana's historic visit, a trip that would be among
her last to U.S. soil, as she perished in a Paris car crash 14 months

"Princess Diana's car has found its final destination here at the Volo
Auto Museum where it belongs," said Greg Grams, museum founder and owner.
"When I learned that this car was for sale, I knew it had to be where the
public could see it. There is no more perfect place for this car than right

Smith, a retired Rolls Royce dealer who lives in Lake Bluff, reacquired
the car from a Las Vegas woman who cherished it for many years. Grams
bought the car from Smith this month for an undisclosed price.
The car now rests in a regal space featuring portraits of the stunning
princess and numerous photographs taken during her triumphant Chicago

Daniel McAleer, who drove the Rolls Royce as Her Royal
Highness' chauffeur during her trip, as well as Smith, who hails from
Britain and arranged the transportation not only for Diana but for several
royal visitors to the United States.

Rodgers, McAleer and Smith savor personal recollections and have
mementos of the historic Midwest visit of Diana, Princess of Wales.
"Suddenly you're driving on the tarmac of the airport and you're
getting on the tollway and the whole tollway is closed to everyone but you
and the police escorts," recalled McAleer. "You're driving this fantastic
Rolls Royce, you look in your rear view mirror and you have this incredible
woman in the seat behind you."
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