Which Automaker Built the Popemobile?

Andrew Koole
· 3 min read
Since the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in 1981, the supreme head of the Catholic Church has been seen riding in the back of a uniquely modified vehicle affectionately known as the
Popemobile
.
Popes have gotten around in all types of vehicles, but only the cars with a clear, enclosed, “bubble” compartment designed to allow the pope to stand are easily identified as Popemobiles. 
The most current of these vehicles is a modified
Mercedes
M Class SUV, but it isn’t the only car Pope Francis uses. In fact, he prefers to keep things more simple, often puttering himself around the Vatican in a 1984 Renault 4 sedan.
The Popemobile is one of the most famous cars in the world, so what company built it?

A brief history of the bulletproof Popemobile

Papal transport has generally kept up with the times since 1800, when Pope Pius VII became the first pope to forgo horseback and be pulled into the Vatican in a carriage. When it comes to motorized vehicles, popes have used everything from
Lincoln
Continentals to Kias.
The
Washington Post
says Pope John Paul II was riding in a Fiat popemobile1973 Fiat Campagnola when he was shot on May 13, 1981. Since then, many of the pope’s vehicles have been fitted with bulletproof glass.
The first bulletproof Popemobile was a modified 1980 Mercedes-Benz 230-G, and Mercedes has supplied many vehicles for the Vatican since. But other automakers have also built protected vehicles for the pope, including
Land Rover
, GMC, and Isuzu.
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Highlights from the Pope’s list of rides

Even after being shot, Pope John Paul II braved rides in some more conventional-looking cars. 
Clearly, the man had impeccable taste. The Post claims John Paul II accepted rides in some pretty cool vehicles, including a 1974 Citroen SM, a 1997 Mercedes-Benz S-class convertible, and best of all, a 1988
Ferrari
Mondial. 
He was even gifted a 2005 Ferrari Enzo, but graciously declined it and asked that it be auctioned off to raise money for the poor.
Pope Francis also likes cars, but his taste in transport is decidedly meeker than his predecessors. Often, he’ll ride in a vehicle that’s commonly used in the country he’s visiting. 
While in the Philippines, for example, he rode in something called a 2014 Jeepney. During a trip to South Korea, the serving Popemobile was a modified
Kia
Sedona.

Owning a Mercedes-Benz

About a third of the Popemobiles throughout history were built by
German
automaker Mercedes-Benz. 
You likely aren’t looking to construct your own bulletproof cabin, but if you want a vehicle made by the company trusted by St. Peter’s successors, Mercedes has a wide range of sedans, crossovers, and SUVs to choose from. 
They’ve also stepped confidently into the electric market, with at least six
EVs
expected to launch in the next three years.
Most Mercedes aren’t cheap, but
car insurance
for them is surprisingly average. No matter what model you buy, you can find an affordable policy by shopping with
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