Please, Look at These 24 Tons of Holiness

This papal behemoth is roughly the size of the Vatican.

The British Commercial Vehicle Museum

The Pope is in town! The Pope is in Town! Even if we hadn’t read the news, the dump trucks filled with sand barricading 50th street in Manhattan are a decent tip-off that something holy this way comes. The crowds will gather, babies will be smooched and the Pope, in proud tradition, will parade proudly in a Popemobile. For this trip, the Popemobile is a tiny (but not that tiny) Fiat.

The Papal whip wasn’t always so diminutive. Check out this 1982 Leyland Constructor, a 24-ton mammoth, customized and armored for Pope John Paul II’s use during his visit to the U.K. that year. Despite the general appearance and mass of white-washed locomotive, the Constructor was chosen for its maneuverability, as its turbodiesel six-cylinder reportedly had real scoot. Plus, the Constructor featured bulletproof glass and steel-reinforced floors to deter brazen attackers.

The Vatican is a grand place with enough gold filigree within its walls to gild the moon. It is also, at 109 acres, the smallest sovereign state in the world. Maybe with this gargantuan truck, whose footprint must span roughly 100 acres, Pope John Paul II’s U.K. hosts just wanted him to feel at home?