- Sep 18, 2013
The new, old Popemobile Renault 4 is biofuel ready
While it's not a Popemobile in the traditional, bubble-shaped sense, Pope Francis now has a car that is not only humble and non-ostentatious but also might go over well with an environmental activist. The pope was given a 1984 Renault 4 that can run on biofuel.
Fr. Renzo Zocca gave the pope his old Renault 4 that had about 190,000 miles on the odometer. Zocca thought Pope Francis would appreciate the car's role in serving poor Italian Catholics for several years. He also knew about Francis' environmental activism, and was proud to tell the pope that it can run on biofuel. This – like so much else the new Pope has done – is different from the style of other recent Popes, who have been known to get lavish Popemobiles from automotive executives. Last year, Daimler head Dieter Zetsche delivered a Mercedes-Benz Popemobile to Pope Benedict XVI and Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn gave him an all-electric Renault.
To emphasize the difference, the 20-year-old Renault 4 isn't bulletproof and complies more with Francis' philosophy of church leaders driving "humble" vehicles. It's also a personally appropriate car, since Pope Francis apparently drove a Renault 4 in his native Argentina. The model was built from the early 1960s through the 1990s, and was sold in markets from Australia to South America. It's not a fancy ride, but it is a better fit with Francis' image as the people's pope.