At some point in your life, you have probably seen or heard of the popemobile. You know, the protective vehicle that looks like a giant bubble in which the pope stands or sits on his trips to various countries around the world? People often picture an ugly bubble with wheels, but what if this protective popemobile had some style? That is what Mercedes-Benz was going for in the latest installment of this fully customized vehicle made out of an M-Class model.
Mercedes-Benz has been working with the Vatican and its popes for decades. The very first popemobile (which was, of course, not always the name for the pope’s transportation) was created for Pope John Paul II on a trip to his native Poland. Whenever the pope would visit a country, it would be in charge of developing its own vehicle for him, which would be checked and double-checked by members of the Swiss Guard. Today, there is only one popemobile transferred wherever the pope needs it. Many manufacturers, including GMC and Fiat, developed these innovative vehicles, but today, the vehicle of choice is produced by Mercedes-Benz.
The most recent model, delivered to Pope Benedict XVI this week, is derived from a modified M-Class model from Mercedes. The 2002 Mercedes, also an M-Class, is similar in style, but a few changes were made. More interior standing room was added, as well as larger glass panels for the viewing area. New lighting was also included in the standing area.
With the latest in safety and technology in the M-Class, Mercedes has definitely created a vehicle that is worthy of the pope. A continued relationship with the Vatican will keep bringing new designs and innovations to the beloved popemobile, a partnership that Mercedes-Benz is and always will be proud of.