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Pope Benedict XVI's new popemobile

· A tribute from Mercedes Benz ·

Registration card n. 6,224 is for the new popemobile that Mercedes Benz has offered to Benedict XVI. It was first used last Saturday, 8 December, on the occasion of the Holy Father's traditional visit to pay homage to the Virgin at the foot of her statue in Piazza di Spagna, Rome. It is a customized remake of the 500matic model of the German automaker. “Mother of pearl” white, 5.63 meters long, about 1.93 metres wide and 2.75 metres high, the new popemobile is equipped with a motor that runs on green petrol with a 4.600 cc engine, a V6, and weighs a total of about  4.700 kilos. Thus the tradition continues. It was inaugurated in 1930 by Mercedes Benz which committed itself to providing the Pope with a car for his drives. The first one was delivered to Pius XI in 1930. It was a Nurburg 460 Pullman limousine. In the 1960s John XXIII was offered a 360 d Landaulet convertible, while Paul VI  first received a Mercedes 600 Pullman Landaulet and later a 300 SEL. Pope Montini was also given a white Lincoln convertible which he used during his pilgrimage in India in 1964, but it was donated by the Catholics of the United States of America. He used it for the last time on the very day of his departure from Bombay: in fact he wanted in his turn to leave it as a gift to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, knowing well that the religious would have made good use of it. However she put it up for auction straight away and with the money it made founded a home in Titagarah for the rehabilitation of lepers.

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