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40 years of the Popemobile: These are the cars of the Popes

40 years Papamobil, 90 years cars for the Pope
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Pope Francis visited Japan last year and did not have to do without a vehicle from domestic production: The The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan has given the Pontifex Maximus two converted T oyota Mirai for free.

With a length of 5.10 meters, the Papamobil Mirai is 21 centimeters longer than the production vehicle. The front of the Pope's car carries standard holders for the flags of the Vatican. So that the Pope can stand in the car, the height increases to 2.7 meters. The Pope's standing area is surrounded by a frame with integrated lights. For easier access, there is a staircase that can be extended to the side, including a railing. A large golden papal coat of arms emblazoned on two glass inserts on the right and left of the vehicle.

Toyota finds that the hydrogen-powered Mirai fits in well with the Pope's strong interest in environmental issues.

1980: Papamobile on G-basis

It is not known who had the idea. But the pictures of it went around the world: A waving Pope in a white Mercedes G. That means, there wasn't much of the G to be seen when John Paul II was driven past the audience on his visit to Germany.

Daimler AG
One of the two Papamobiles is currently on display in the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Pope carriages in which the Holy Father could stand and wave had existed long before. From 1976 the Pope had an open, white painted Toyota Land Cruiser available. A Fiat Campognolo was later used inJohn Paul II was also on the road on May 13, 1981 when he was shot.

But neither of the two had a structure made of Plexiglas like the mother-of-pearl-colored G model with shiny brass-gold wheels and emblems. Mercedes had converted the Popemobile for John Paul II's visit to Germany. Registration: SCV-7. Today the Pope's 230 G is in the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

There is a second one that was built in 1983 and is now in the museum in the Vatican. This Pope-G already has the modern M 102 injection. A 230 GE with 125 hp. The original vehicle is a 230 G, it has the carburettor engine with 100 HP. That is enough for walking pace. Nevertheless, later popes also drove their parades on St. Peter's Square in stronger popemobiles. But none is as iconic as the G-model from 1980.

1930: Mercedes 460 for Pope Pius XI.

Daimler AG
Earlier Pope mobiles were black-painted limousines.

Some, but of course by far not all, Mercedes gave to the respective Pope: In 1930 Pius XI. a 460 Nürburg - a 'marvel of modern technology' - this is how Mercedes-Benz quotes the Holy Father. A delegation from Stuttgart had given him the car in the Vatican gardens. But the Nürburg was not the first car that a Pope received: The Association of Catholic Women of the Archdiocese of Milan had Pius XI. brought a Bianchi type 15. According to the Musei Vaticani, it was approved with a license plate of the diplomatic corps.

Then the manufacturers outbid each other with car gifts: A Lictoria C6 came from Citroën, a Paige 837 from the now faded Graham brand Recent additions to the Vatican museum fleet have become more popular: in 2003 one of the last Mexico Beetles built was added and in 2013 Pope Francis received a Renault 4 as a gift. The Holy Father has also been driving the Dacia Duster since 2019.

2019: Dacia for Pope Francis

In 2019 Pope Francis received a Dacia Duster.

In 2019, the Pope got a slightly less glamorous mobile pedestal than usual a Dacia Duster. The white SUV for Pope Francis has a beige interior and a special seat on the back seat. The new Papa-Mobil also has a large sliding roof. The glass structure is removable. for him the body needs to be reinforced. And something else that is special about the Papst car: the Duster is 30 millimeters lower. Less because of the sportiness, but so that Francis can get in more easily.


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