The Pope’s Fiat 500L Just Sold for $82,000

A ridiculous price for a mediocre economy hatchback? Or a heavy discount on absolution by osmosis?

Pope Francis Fiat 500L
Aristide Economopoulos-Pool/Getty Images

What’s the going rate for an imprint of the papal behind? What about several dozen micrometers of blessed dandruff, or a whiff of robe? What’s a good price for absolution of your sins—automotive or otherwise—via one holy Fiat? As of this Friday, we have the answers, because Michael and Kate Chapman of Chapman Auto Stores paid a staggering $82,000 for the Fiat 500L used to ferry Pope Francis through Philadelphia during his recent trip to the United States. That is, $82,000 for a car with a regular market value of around $15,000. All the money, including the $67,000 in pontiff-related mark-up, will go to benefit the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In the meanwhile, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will be scheming up a way to get the Divine Tush into seats at the Serbian plant where 500Ls are made, because, holy heck, that’s a fat margin.

There are two ways to look at this latest edition of Celebrity Markup. On one hand, that’s a ridiculous price for a mediocre economy hatchback, no matter who has occupied the rear seat. As indicated by sellers on Craigslist who offer “CELEBRITY OWNED!!! Tila Tequila’s assistant’s first car!!!” alongside grainy photos of a Dodge Neon, a frenzy over prior ownership usually resonates more deeply with owners of a car than potential buyers. A Pope-brushed Fiat 500L is, to an agnostic, just a Fiat.

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But the Pope is not Tila Tequila’s assistant. (Talk about a sitcom idea...—Ed.) He’s the link between millions of Catholics and God, and to the right person, this Fiat 500L might offer solace and, optimistically, a little bit of residual absolution, gleaming from between the seat cushions. (Unheated.) If that’s the case, and this particular Italian sled still glimmers with a sheen of the Holy See, then $82,000 might just be a great price on a modern-day indulgence. Sinners, repent, and take out a large, low-interest auto loan.