Like every community Speedville has a Town Hall, schools, stores along Main St., a post office — and a church. It’s non-denominational of course … a place to pray for no rain on race days or a few extra horsepower at the drag strip. This week the church bulletin contained a blurb about saintly happenings.It seems that Pope John Paul II-who was known as the first “rock star Pope” because he did so many international tours in his Popemobiles – is soon going to be declared a Saint. The date for his canonization ceremony is April 27. With a canonization, a dead person is declared a Saint.
So, John Paul II will become a Saint at the end of April and his Popemobile will became a real Saintmobile (not like the Saint car Volvo P1800 driven by TV spy Roger Moore). John Paul had more than one Saintmobile, but the best known and most historically significant one is the “telephone booth” 1982 Range Rover built especially for his tour to England and Scotland a year after a gunman tried to assassinate him in an open-air Fiat Popemobile in Rome.
Speedville has discovered that two of the 1982 Range Rover Popemobiles were built and one of them is actually in the United States. It is currently part of a “Lives and Deaths of the Popes” exhibit at the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston, Texas. The unique 4×4 SUV is the first bulletproof and bombproof Popemobile ever built.
After the Pope visited England, one of the Range Rover-based Popemobiles was used by him in Scotland and then sent to the Vatican. It is still in service at the Holy See and was used by Pope Benedict XVI. The second Range Rover with British registration plate no. XDU IIX – went to the Caribbean for two Papal excursions there, before passing into private hands in England. It was restored and wound up at the Auto Collections in Vegas, Nev. This is the car that can be seen at the National Museum of Funeral History. (Wonder if they’ll loan it to the Speedville Museum after their exhibit is taken down?) [inpost_pixedelic_camera slide_width=”800″ slide_height=”600″ thumb_width=”75″ thumb_height=”75″ skin=”camera_amber_skin” alignment=”” time=”7000″ transition_period=”1500″ bar_direction=”leftToRight” data_alignment=”topLeft” easing=”swing” grid_difference=”250″ thumbnails=”1″ pagination=”0″ auto_advance=”1″ hover=”1″ play_pause_buttons=”1″ pause_on_click=”1″ id=”” random=”0″ group=”0″ post_id=”70886″ type=”pixedelic_camera” sc_id=”sc1394545230522″]