Holy Rollers: Popemobiles and Cars with Papal Provenance

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Launch Slideshow

RM Sotheby’s upcoming sale in Monaco will offer a bespoke 2018 Lamborghini Huracán built for His Holiness Pope Francis. There are few opportunities to own a vehicle blessed by the pope, let alone a Lamborghini, but it is not the first time RM has sold an Italian sports car bearing Vatican City license plates. Click ahead as we look back on some of the “holy rollers” sold by RM over the years, and take a first look at another vehicle with papal provenance to be offered this fall. –Jake Auerbach 

RM Sotheby's: Monaco
12 May | Monaco

RM Sotheby's: Auburn Fall
30 August–2 September | Auburn

Holy Rollers: Popemobiles and Cars with Papal Provenance

  • 1962 Lincoln Continental “Bubbletop” Kennedy Limousine. Sold for $429,000 in 2010.
    While in service, this Secret Service-ordered limousine, officially known as SS-297-X, served as transportation for Pope Paul VI during the first papal visit to the nation’s capital.   

  • 1962 Lincoln Continental “Bubbletop” Kennedy Limousine. Sold for $429,000 in 2010.
    The car also carried President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy. 

  • 1964 Lincoln Papal Limousine. Sold for $319,000 in 2006.
    This 1964 Lincoln Continental Limousine was commissioned by Henry Ford II for the first Papal visit to the United States. The car had a transparent bubble roof, a convertible top and a throne in the rear to allow the Pontiff to be better seen by crowds. The car saw parade duty in New York City transporting Pope Paul VI to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 

  • 1964 Lincoln Papal Limousine. Sold for $319,000 in 2006.
    After the pope’s visit, the car was shipped to Chicago where it chauffeured astronauts from the Apollo 8, 11 and 13 missions, including Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, in their ticker-tape parades. The limousine was called back into service for His Holiness in 1968 during a visit to Bogotá, Colombia.  

  • 1938 Cadillac Sixteen Town Car by Fleetwood. Sold for €134,400 in 2011.
    This very rare Fleetwood Town Car, one of only ten built, was part of the Vatican Collection from 1948 until 1966. The car was delivered new to the Countess Rosaria de Larrechea de Schiffner at the Hotel Ritz in Paris, where she kept an occasional apartment. The countess used the car to visit her daughters in Rome for many years until her passing in 1948. 

  • 1938 Cadillac Sixteen Town Car by Fleetwood. Sold for €134,400 in 2011.
    Her daughters gifted the car to Cardinal Spellman, a family friend and former head of the Archdiocese of New York, who in turn gifted the car to the Vatican Collection and motor pool. Nicola Bulgari, well-known collector and Vice Chairman of the family jewelry firm, purchased the car from the Vatican Collection.  

  • 2005 Ferrari Enzo. Sold for $6,050,000 in 2015.
    In 2003 Ferrari stated it would build 399 examples of the Enzo, in keeping with the company’s tradition of building one car fewer than what the market would demand. Ferrari, however, broke its own rule and built just one more, a 400th and final Enzo, gifted to Pope John Paul II. 

  • 2005 Ferrari Enzo. Sold for $6,050,000 in 2015.
    Signed by then Ferrari Chairman Luca Montezemolo, “This Enzo, unique in the history of Ferrari, as a sign of solidarity for those suffering, inspired by a Great Pope, John Paul II.” His Holiness auctioned the car in June 2005 with 100 percent of proceeds going to benefit the victims of the tsunami that had ravaged Southeast Asia earlier that year.  

  • 2015 Fiat 500L. Sold for $24,750 in 2016.
    In September of 2015, Pope Francis made a historic visit to the United States. This is one of two cars Fiat Chrysler donated to the Secret Service to be used by His Holiness while traveling in New York City. These unique 500Ls were fitted with a small Vatican City flag and “SCV 1” license plate – the abbreviation for Status Civitatis Vaticanae, the formal Latin name for Vatican City. All hammer proceeds benefited the Archidocese of New York.  

  • 2018 Lamborghini Huracán RWD Coupé. Estimate Upon Request.
    Donated to His Holiness Pope Francis by Automobili Lamborghini, all proceeds from the sale of this Huracán RWD Coupé will be delivered directly to the Holy Father, who shall allocate all proceeds to charity. 

    RM Sotheby's: Monaco
    12 May | Monaco

  • 2018 Lamborghini Huracán RWD Coupé. Estimate Upon Request.
    Customized and built to European specifications by Lamborghini's Ad Personam program, the car is finished in Bianco Monocerus contrasted by Giallo Tiberino stripes in homage to the Vatican City flag. The final touch was added by the pope himself, who signed the bonnet of the car upon seeing it for the first time. 

    RM Sotheby's: Monaco
    12 May | Monaco

  • 1975 Ford Escort GL. Estimate $150,000–300,000.
    The sale of Pope John Paul II’s Ford Escort GL represents the opportunity to own the only known personal vehicle of a Pope. His Holiness bought this Ford Escort GL new in 1975 when he was still Cardinal Wyzynski, but continued to drive the car after becoming Pope in 1978. With no hubcaps, air-conditioning or radio, the pontiff delighted in the anonymity this modest sedan afforded him as he drove around Rome dressed in ordinary clothing.

    RM Sotheby's: Auburn Fall
    30 August–2 September | Auburn

  • 1975 Ford Escort GL. Estimate $150,000–300,000.
    After a near fatal assassination attempt in 1981, Vatican security insisted he no longer go driving alone in his personal vehicle. Having covered 60,000 miles in six years, His Holiness obliged. 

    RM Sotheby's: Auburn Fall
    30 August–2 September | Auburn

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