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Pope Paul VI was the first pope to travel the world, visiting Asia, Africa, and the Americas extensively. When he came to the USA for the first time, he needed something fitting to represent the Catholic Church—and this Lincoln Continental served nicely.
This Continental was built upon a request from the Vatican, who needed a ride for Paul VI’s address to the United Nations in 1965. To fulfill the order, coachbuilder Lehman-Peterson built it in just two weeks. They stretched it to 21 feet and added a removable roof section, with a PA system to address the huddled masses and a removable transparent window, more to shield the pope from the weather than from the likes of Carlos the Jackal.
When Pope Paul VI came to New York, he addressed the United Nations, attended the World’s Fair, and witnessed a Yankees game, to the chagrin of Red Sox fans. After his whirlwind New York tour the Pope and his Continental went to Bogotá, Colombia, where the car was modified to fit in with the city’s 8,000-ft elevation.
The car never made it back to Italy after the South American trip, but rather to Chicago where, given the right series of events, it could have become the Bluesmobile. Instead, it carried a series of astronauts: Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anderson after they orbited the moon, and then the Apollo 11 crew after the 1969 moon landing.
Just another example of a Lincoln Continental becoming part of world history. And this bit of history could be yours at Pebble Beach, where it will go up for auction on August 19th. Auction house Bonhams believes it will go for $250,000 to $350,000, which seems low for a car that’s a genuine holy roller.
GALLERY: 1964 Lincoln Continental Pope Mobile
[Source: New York Times]
With the Vatican looking to expand their use of green technology, the next generation Popemobile is reportedly set to employ hybrid technology, although His Holiness would reportedly prefer a fully electric vehicle powered by solar panels.
The new Popemobile will be based off the next-generation Mercedes ML-Class, and used a hybrid system with a 10kw electric motor and a gasoline V6 engine good for a 60 horsepower boost. The same powertrain, fitted in an S-Class prototype, is good for 18.5 miles of purely electric driving, and considering the standard range and speeds of the Popemobile, it should be more than adequate for papal duties.
[Source: New York Times]
Pope Benedict XVI is going to be known as the “Green Pope” due to his eco-friendly initiatives since donning the fancy hat. He has spoken about the importance of sustainable energy. In 2008, photovoltaic cells were installed on the roof of a Vatican auditorium, and in 2009, a solar cooling unit was added to the Vatican cafeteria. So the next local step for the Green Pope is to drive a Green Popemobile.
According to The Washington Post, Pope Benedict is looking for a solar-powered Popemobile. The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI would gladly use one as another sign of his efforts to promote sustainable energy and take care of the planet. But so far, no one has yet to be offer one (is there really that big of a demand for solar-powered Popemobiles?).
But there is hope on the horizon. The German firm SolarWorld (the same company that installed the cells atop the Vatican auditorium) believes it can build the Pope an electric solar car, but marketing chief Milan Nitzschke says a major problem is getting the Vatican security to sign off on it. Some concerns appear to be about the solar Popemobile having enough speed to accelerate quickly enough should a security issue arrive.
[Source: The Washington Post]