When standard features include a huge glassed area at the rear and a throne, then you know it’s the Popemobile.
The latest, a heavily modified ML that took nine months to complete, carries on the tradition of combining the marque’s legendary luxury with a bespoke body that puts Pope Benedict XVI in the public gaze without compromising on his security. The Popemobile is used both at home and abroad, so to make transport easier it is slightly lower than standard MLs – yet has better internal standing height.
It’s been 80 years now that Mercedes-Benz has supplied pontiffs with personalised transport. The first Pope to get a Mercedes-Benz was Pius XI, who received a Nürburg 460 Pullman Saloon in 1930. Subsequent vehicles have included Pope John XXIII’s 1960s 300d Landaulet and Paul VI’s 600 Pullman Landaulet and 300 SEL.
The Popemobile era began in the 1980s with John Paul II’s modified G-Class, which was followed in 2002 by the predecessor to the new Popemobile, used until now by Benedict XVI. Retired Popemobiles can be viewed as part of the
collections on display at both the Vatican and the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.