back to article 2nd-hand Popemobile, also used by Neil Armstrong, for sale

A remarkable car which was used by Pope Paul VI during visits to New York and Bogotá and which carried Apollo moon astronauts including Neil Armstrong is to go on sale later this week. The modified stretch Lincoln Continental was produced by Chicago custom firm Lehmann-Peterson in 1965 at the special request of the Vatican to …


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  1. Jon Double Nice

    I really hope that

    it has a 'Pope Mode' button on the dashboard.

    1. carter brandon

      It's more likely to have

      a 'Pope Commode' button.

  2. Matt Piechota


    Looking at the article, the wheelbase is 160", but that's not the width. The wheelbase is the distance between the axles.

    We Americans have big cars, but even a 1965 Lincoln isn't *that* wide.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge


      A 21ft car riding on a 13ft wheelbase. That's some overhang.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Motorbikes have a quoted wheelbase.

      ... so obviously its not the width.

      As for 21ft car with 15ft wheelbase --- there's a foot either way from the axle to the "end" of the wheel, leaving you with about 3ft overhang either way; seems about right for a Continental (bit more to the front than the back).

  3. Anonymous Coward

    13 feet four inches wide

    WTF? Really?

  4. b166er


    Thought that you were refering to the pope's mobile.

    I was thinking, not only has god been spoken to on this particular mobile, but there's a possibility Neil Armstrong used it from the heavens too!

  5. defiler Silver badge

    Important buyer's questions...

    What's the fuel economy like? Does it qualify for zero road tax? Does it turn water into petrol, or do you need the Pope in the back for that? Can I use the bus lanes in it?

    You have to admit that it looks better than the Fiat Panda or whatever it was with the greenhouse on the back in the 80s...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Water into petrol would be good, but only if it emits wine from the exhaust shall I be prostrating myself behind it.

    2. Stratman


      Sadly it can only turn petrol into water.

  6. Alfie
    Thumb Up


    Looks better than the Skoda Pope^H^H^H^HRoomster. 1965 model means classic insurance and no road tax too. Bargain!

  7. JeffyPooh Silver badge

    8,600-feet needs AvGas and mods?

    I had a cheap rental car and drove up Pikes Peak (14,000 + feet) without any issues whatsoever. The parking lot at the summit was chock-a-block full of various cars and trucks, and the road up was absolutely littered with precisely *zero* vehicles unable to make the grade.

    Modern tech?

    1. peyton?

      I think it's a bigger problem

      for diesel than gas engines.

      But still, I bet you're right that age is a factor as well.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I suspect the problem the aviation fuel worked around was vapor lock.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      ...the Pope was planning on visiting someone a LOT higher up?

    4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Modern tech indeed

      Injection automatically compensates for altitude. I keep a 21 years old Renault abroad as a "summer house car" and it goes up and down 6K feet on a daily basis during the summer with no problems (taking the kids to the swimming pool in the valley below the house each morning and taking them back + groceries in the afternoon).

      Carburetor, which this beast is likely to be due to its age, is not automatically adjusted. You have to adjust it (depending on design) every 5k-7.5k feet. It also depends on the engine compression in the first place. If it is was a carb with the laughable compression of most old US cars I am not surprised it needed to be modd-ed to run at 8k.

      That is why airplanes went fuel injection and turbo as early as WW2 while most cars remained on carbs all the way until the catalysts became mandatory.

  8. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    "aviation gasoline from the Colombian Air Force." So it ran on cocaine?

  9. Jemma Silver badge

    engine mods

    If I might venture to suggest a reason...

    If Lincoln are anything like the Chryslers of the same era in the same price bracket they all used what was effectively a sports tuned V8 - such as the 440 6-pack (under a different name) - to get the huge lard barge to move at respectable speeds.

    Given that these engines ran compressions of 10:1 in some instances using nothing more than a bunch of downdraft carbs, the less said about early EFi engines the better... high octane premium fuel was and still is a must for these cars, I've personally heard the racket the poor things make on standard octane, and its not a sound for the faint hearted. They really dont run well on it.

    If that is the case, and I would be surprised if it were otherwise, the poor great lummox would indeed have problems dragging its weight up to high altitudes because of the power loss that would be caused by incorrect mixture and metering, not to mention less O2 for the engine to dine on.

    Its alot like what happened when Clarkson and Co went up that desert - both the humans and the 4x4s were wheezing and complaining at high altitude. All of those 4x4s used carb engines of varying tune - the V8 in the Range Rover would possibly have lost 40% of its power through just not being able to get enough oxygen to burn. Thats 150hp to about 85hp in a 2 ton vehicle. The same thing in the Lincoln could be something like 400hp down to 220 - 230hp and even a standard continental is touching on more like 4 ton than 2 ton, let alone one thats been lengthened and probably armoured as well...

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge


      I've had first-hand experience with a taxi ride from Cali to Popayan (Colombia, indeed) in a clapped-out 20-ish-year old land barge, probably a Chevrolet. I'm not sure what it ran on, but low-double-digits octane would probably be unjustly optimistic. At least it was mixed 50/50 with hope, perseverance and swearing.

      Whenever power was needed, which was quite often with the road going up and down hills and even slower traffic present, an entire xylophone orchestra would come alive under the bonnet.

      Still, we managed not to break down somewhere halfway.

  10. John Savard Silver badge

    I Always Thought...

    that they should have continued the joke by calling the Pope's special helicopter "The Flying Vatican".

  11. bugalugs

    I suppose

    the pope just walks these days ...

  12. Stoneshop Silver badge


    Let's all chip in and buy this barge to give LOHAN's Playmonaut a fitting parade.

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