10 sweet Popemobiles that will make you wish you held the Keys of Heaven

Being the leader of the Catholic Church sure has its perks. You get a sovereign city-state in Italy, the adoration of millions across the globe, and occasionally, you get ferried around in your very own Popemobile. There have been several iterations of the pious people-carrier over the years, ranging from an open air Seat Panda all the way to a stretched Lincoln Continental, but a few stick out from the crowd.

Pope Francis is currently on a tour of the United States, and in commemoration, we’d like to count down our top five “Papamobiles” for you here. Compared to the sedia gestatoria — a ceremonial throne held aloft by 12 disciples with poles — we’ve clearly come a long way.

1980 Mercedes-Benz 230 G

Perhaps the most popular vehicle to ever chauffeur the Pope is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, also known as the G-Wagen or Geländewagen.

Mercedes built this particular version, the 230G, for Pope John Paul II’s visit to Germany in 1980. It was originally outfitted with a removable plastic cupola, but after a failed assassination attempt in 1981, the bodywork was smartly refurnished with bulletproof glazing.

Affectionally nicknamed “Papa G,” the Mercedes came with a high-performance climate control system to keep the Holy Father comfortable, as well as an inner light array to keep him visible. The white and gold “mother-of-pearl” color scheme has become synonymous with the Popemobile ever since.

(p: Daimler AG)

1960 Mercedes-Benz 300D

Elegant, distinguished, and commanding, the Mercedes-Benz 300D was the S-Class of ’60s, making it the perfect choice to carry the Christian God’s representative on Earth around the world.

Presented to the papacy as a gift from Mercedes, the 300D was designed as a landaulet, meaning it was equipped with a convertible soft top over the back seats. Like many Popemobiles, the Benz wore a bespoke interior, one with a singular electronically-controlled throne in the back. An inline six-cylinder powered the car, allowing it to reach a top speed of 99 mph.

(p: Daimler AG)

2012 Renault Kangoo Maxi Z.E.

Pope Benedict XVI was well-known for his environmental concerns, so much so that he many dubbed him the “The Green Pope.” The association was further strengthened when he took delivery of a modified Renault Kangoo Maxi Z.E., an electric van sold in Europe.

The Pope rarely travels anywhere quickly, so the Kangoo’s 60-horsepower electric motor was more than sufficient. It did boast a 105-mile range, though, which was more than enough to carry its four passengers around Pope Benedict’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. The van also featured a custom interior, an opening roof, rear-hinged rear doors, and removable rear windows.

Read more here.

(p: Groupe Renault)

2015 Jeep Wrangler

Jeep-Wrangler-(2015)

The Bishop of Rome’s current ride is one of the least assuming Popemobiles ever, which reflects Pope Francis’ image as “the everyman Pope.” Although the vehicle’s specs are currently under wraps — and for good reason — it’s expected to be very similar to the Wrangler Francis was driven around in during his July visit to Ecuador.

On that trip, the white off-roader was fitted with a glass roof over the bed area, though the sides remained uncovered. The Pope has famously turned down enclosed and bulletproof vehicles during his tenure, referring to them as “sardine cans” that hinder interaction with his supporters. At the very least, the Jeep is a good choice if Francis decides to hit the all-terrain course.

Read more here.

(p: Fotos593/Shutterstock)

1979 FSC Star 660

The FSC Star 660 is arguably the most badass Popemobile out there, which is likely as weird to read as it is to type. At any rate, the massive six-wheeler was essentially a converted firetruck, designed with input from Pope John Paul II himself.

The vehicle was used during the religious leader’s 1979 visit to his home nation of Poland, and some saw the commanding Popemobile as a showing of defiance against the Soviets who were in control of the Central European country at the time. Millions upon millions of Poles rallied around the armored flatbed during the tour, giving valuable traction to the Solidarity movement that eventually led to the fall of Communism in Poland. We’re sure the Pope had something to do with it, too.

(p: Muzeum Inżynierii Miejskiej)

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Mobile

Quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed

Looking for a few accoutrements to make your smartphone even better? If you, or someone you know, is a sucker for accessories, you'll want to check out our collection of quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed.
Computing

New rumors say the Pixelbook 2 could show up at CES 2019

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Cars

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.
Cars

The redesigned 2020 Passat shows Volkswagen still believes in sedans

The sedan segment in America is shrinking, but Volkswagen still believes in it. The German firm has released a teaser sketch to preview the redesigned 2020 Passat it will introduce during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.
Cars

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Cars

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.
Cars

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.
Cars

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.
1 of 2