It has carried a Pope through New York and ferried US Astronauts during triumphant returns from space. Now, a specially adapted 1964 Lincoln Continental Limousine is up for auction and is expected to fetch up to $350,000. Bonhams has reported they will sell this motorcar during the Exceptional Motorcars and Motorcycles auction at Quail Lodge California on August 19th 2011.
This 1964 Lincoln Limousine was specifically adapted, per a request from the Vatican, to carry Pope Paul VI through the streets of New York when he visited the United Nations to speak about World Peace in 1965. It was rushed to completion in a span of less than two weeks from receipt of the request to delivery of the finished parade car to New York on October 5, 1965.
Exterior step plates and handrails for security, additional interior seating for aides and prelates, and a raised seat for the Pontiff were only a few of the many changes. The most visible attribute of the collectible car is the transparent rear landaulet roof and roof-mounted windshield, which protected the Pope and his entourage while enabling the throngs of spectators that lined the parade route to see the Pontiff.
After the pope’s visit, the 1964 Lincoln Continental popemobile was shipped back to Lehmann-Peterson in Chicago. While in Chicago, it spent some time chauffeuring astronauts from the Apollo 8 and 13 missions (including Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong), during ticker tape parades. In 1968 the Vatican remembered its performance and once again called upon Ford to use it for another Papal visit, this time to Bogotá, Colombia for the 39th Eucharistic Congress. The task was complicated by Bogotá’s altitude, 8,600 feet above sea level, which required extensive engine modifications, aviation gasoline from the Colombian Air Force and a comprehensive kit of tools and spare parts.
Since being removed from service in the early 70s it has been carefully maintained in completely original and well preserved condition. [Bonhams]