Here Are All the Mercedes Popemobiles That Francis Won’t Ride In

The Pope is letting all this swagger gather dust.

For 80 years, when the Pope travelled by car, the car was a Mercedes.

The Holy See paraded in open sedans, armored trucks and sumptuous limousines, all adorned with the papal seal and assembled in Stuttgart. The first car ever provided for a Pope was a Mercedes, a 1930 Nürburg sedan, and as recently as 2012 Pope Benedict received a special M-Class Popemobile.

But Pope Francis champions humility and the plight of the poor, not Nappa upholstery and the heretical indulgence of a V-8. As a pope of the people with an imperative to connect, Francis has gone on record saying that the bulletproof glass structure of a traditional popemobile makes him feel like a sardine in a tin. The man wants to touch hands.

No luxury, very little armor. The “hipster” pope has almost entirely shunned the Vatican’s stable of tri-stars—his 1984 Renault 4 with 186,000 will be just fine, thank you.

But us? The gluttons, the materialists, the unrepentant capitalists? Why, we love a Mercedes. We take great superficial pleasure in their smells and shapes, and in their demonic levels of swagger. To paraphrase Lena Dunham, a Mercedes isn’t the car of the people, but it is… a car of a people.

Come dance down the primrose path with us as we explore the glorious Benzes the Pope refuses to use.

Matthew Lloyd/Getty