Francis Prefers Open Popemobile

The pope eschews a bulletproof popemobile and has been using an opened vehicle with a shield in the front and above him to move through crowds. The first bulletproof popemobile was introduced following the attempted assassination of John Paul II in 1981 and was later used by Benedict XVI. But traveling in a bulletproof popemobile is like being confined to a “sardine can,” one that cuts him off from other people, Francis said in a 2014 interview with Vatican Radio. “It’s true that anything could happen,” he said, “but let’s face it, at my age, I don’t have much to lose.” One version of a popemobile he used in Naples was open on the sides, which allowed a local pizza maker to make a special delivery to Francis. Francis has used a number of different car brands as popemobiles during his trips: Mercedes, Toyota, Isuzu, Kia, Hyundai, Land Rover and Jeep, according to the Vatican. While in the U.S., he will use a Jeep Wrangler.

10 photos
1/10
Getty
A Hyundai is the latest addition to the fleet of cars used by the Pope.
2/10
Getty
A Mercedes is still part of the fleet, but Pope Francis prefers a popemobile that is not enclosed.
3/10
Getty
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in his popemobile on Dec. 8, 2010 in Rome, Italy.
4/10
Getty
A Mercedes popemobile that Pope XVI used in 2010.
5/10
Getty
Pope John Paul II waves from his popemobile to the faithful as he arrives in Como, northern Italy, for a visit May 4, 1996.
6/10
AP
Pope Francis greets people lining the road from El Alto to La Paz upon his arrival in Bolivia, July 8, 2015.
7/10
AP
Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he rides through Samanes Park in Guayaquil, Ecuador, July 6, 2015.
8/10
AP
Pope Francis blesses a child as he rides on the popemobile to celebrate mass in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 28, 2013.
9/10
AP
Backdropped by Copacabana beachfront, Pope Francis waves to journalist as he starts his ride on the popemobile in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 28, 2013.
10/10
AP
Pope Francis leaves aboard his popemobile after a meeting with youths in Asuncion, Paraguay, July 12, 2015.
Contact Us