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The mini Popemobile

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Fiat sales going up, up, up!  The media cannot stop talking about Pope Francis getting into that black Fiat 500L. I happened to be watching the hysteria of his landing in Washington DC.   The evening news is on right now and they just did an interview at a local Fiat dealer... sales manager said they already have traffic.  They interviewed a lady who bought a black one today.     And with Jeep providing the Popemobile,  it's one big Fiat Chrysler commercial.

And being in a suburb of Philadelphia, we are the next stop.  It's all that's been on Philly news for the past year. Every highway warning sign is posting to expect road closures and delays.  People are parking in the towns around me and taking special trains into the city.  Our town sent out an email warning us to stay off the roads, and that the PA National Guard will be stationed right here in town.   Let's hope they're not needed and this event goes off as planned!  In the meantime, we're going to be bunkered in... good time to work on a model.


Edited by Tom Geiger
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The last pope, Benedict XVI  drove a Ford Escort in his native Germany.  The car was sold at a collector car auction and if I remember correctly was on display in some casino.  

I met Pope Paul when I was a kid.  My father was a US Army officer attached to NATO in Izmir, Turkey.  The US military community used an ancient church, St. John's Cathedral in Izmir.  The pope visited us in I believe it was 1967.  It was a small gathering and I have to sort through my father's enormous slide collection someday, but I'm sure there is a photo of me and the pope there.   My family also went to the pope's audience in Vatican City twice.  Once in 1968 when we moved from Turkey back to the USA.  We took a week's vacation in Rome.  We then lived in Germany from 1969-72, and took my Italian grandmother to Rome in 1970, and attended the pope's audience once again.  So I saw Pope Paul three times.

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When John Paul visited the US in '99, St Louis was one of his stops. His Eminence brought the Pope mobile, the big white one with the glass upper deck. It was easier for him to ride in as it had a chair lift and the old boy's hip was acting up.

Well the Secret Service Supervisor had a "better idea" and wanted to transport His Eminence in a Presidential limo procured for the detail.

The conversation was a hoot, the Secret Service supervisor was all like "We'll go in this car here".  

John Paul said, "No".

Secret Service supervisor : " Well our plans blah, blah,  Blah, Blah, Blah."

John Paul said, "No"

Secret Service supervisor : Blah Blah Blah!

John Paul said, "No"

Secret Service supervisor : Now completely befuddled, turns to a SLPD Major and myself for help. We shrug.

Major says: " There is no way I am going to tell the Pope what to do".

I say: I'm Jewish, not my circus.

Pope: winks at us, states in a thick accent " I vill go in my own cahr"

Turns and shuffles away toward the Pope mobile.

I will NEVER forget that moment.



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As my avatar indicates, I'm from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the largest Polish community outside of Warsaw and Chicago. My parish, St. Stanislaus Kostka, had the honor of two visits by St. John Paul the Great. The first, in 1969 as Cardinal of Krakow, when he was a houseguest of the parish; and, the second in 1979, after he was elected Pope. 


Edited by SfanGoch
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When John Paul visited Ireland in '79, I was 10 and saw him at Dublin Airport.

Here's a pretty bonkers statistic, I million people attended a Mass in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. The population of the whole country back then was less than 3.5 million!

We were all good little Catholics back then. LOL



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I wasn't sure if there were any Pope action figures;, so, I checked. And, whaddya know? Holy water, Batman! Pope Action Figures!41EYPR0P69L._SY300_.thumb.jpg.e69f83f63a56044f33bed4e__1_(1).thumb.jpg.e69347ab5

                      John Paull II                                                                        Innocent III

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My stepson visited the Vatican a few years ago and got a photo of himself with the (then) pope. The most eye-catching thing in the picture is the Pope's bright red shoes. Every time I see that picture, a certain Elvis Costello song immediately starts playing in my head. :D

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There is a reason the pope was in a Fiat 500L and a Jeep, its been reported that the Vatican owns a bunch of stock in FCA.

I Googled.... below is a sentence from a financial article about the Vatican

"stocks, including such Italian blue chips as automaker Fiat and insurer Generale Assicurazione"

Here's an interesting article:


What's interesting is that the Fiat 500L wasn't selling well in the USA, there was a huge rebate last time I looked.  In contrast the new Jeep Renegade is selling well, which is essentially the same car!


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