Guinness countess selling car as iconic as her own family's name
Published 20/06/2010 | 05:00
ONE-TIME socialite Miranda Guinness, the Countess of Iveagh, is selling her beloved red DeLorean coupe -- and she expects to get about £20,000 (€24,000) for it.
"I love this car," she said from the stately home in England, which she restored from virtual ruin. "I have many happy memories of driving my sons to school in it. They weren't so positive about it since I had a knack of knocking myself out on the gull-wing door."
The famous DeLorean, which was built outside Belfast by the controversial American car designer John DeLorean, has only 19,400 miles on the clock. It has been on loan to the Robert Guinness Steam Museum in Straffan, Co Kildare, and is to be sold at auctioneer Bonham's 'Goodwood Festival of Speed' on July 2.
Miranda Guinness has four children, including Edward Iveagh, who lives at the family seat Elveden in England, and Rory Guinness, who is currently launching the Iveagh Wealth Fund for private investors in Ireland.
She bought the left-hand-drive DeLorean in 1981 shortly after it went into production in Dunmurray.
Miranda Guinness was the only owner of the car, which has been maintained to the highest standards.
When the DeLorean was launched, Miranda, divorced from her husband the Third Earl of Iveagh, Benji Guinness, was living in Ireland with the late Tony Ryan, founder of Ryanair, with whom she had a six-year relationship.
"He became a patron of the arts, building up a fine personal collection of new and emerging Irish artists, chosen under the guidance of Miranda," said one art expert after Mr Ryan's death.
After their break-up, Miranda Iveagh bought Wilburry, a rundown Palladian mansion in Wiltshire, which she has restored in much the same manner as Tony Ryan restored the Lyons Demesne outside Dublin, which is now being sold by his two sons, Declan and Shane.
The DeLorean Motor Company factory was launched with millions in funding from the British government in 1980, but it closed down amid controversy in 1982 when the founder, car designer John DeLorean, was indicted in the US on drugs charges. The car with its gull-wing doors, which opened up rather than out, found fame when it was used by Steven Spielberg in his Back to the Future films.
The 'Goodwood Festival of Speed' has become an annual event in England with its sale of highly desirable and rare cars.