Bonhams to auction Lincoln fit for a pope... or an astronaut

  • Image Credit: Theo-Graphics/Bonhams
Not a lot of people have use for a parade car. The pope would, as would a group of astronauts returning from a mission in space to be showered with ticker tape. And if you think you deserve a parade of your own, this could be your vehicle of choice.

The venerable auction house Bonhams has got a very rare 1964 Lincoln Continental landaulet up for grabs at its upcoming event at the Quail Lodge during Pebble Beach weekend. Based on the Continental introduced in 1961, this enormous 21-foot-long beast of a car actually borrows its underpinnings from the Thunderbird – only it can carry a couple more passengers.

This example was prepared by Lehmann-Peterson coachbuilders out of Chicago in order to transport Pope Paul VI upon his 1965 visit to New York City to address the United Nations General Assembly and give mass at Yankee Stadium. It packs exterior step plates and handrails for ride-along security, a raised showcase seat in the back, a PA system, and a removable roof section, clear canopy and rooftop windscreen to shield the dignitary while basking in the adulation of the assembled masses.

Ford shipped the car off at a moment's notice to Bogota, Colombia, for another papal visit a few years later, where the high altitude required the car be fed by jet fuel provided by the Colombian Air Force. But in case that wasn't enough, the car was retasked to fête returning astronauts during the peak of the NASA space program. The heroes of Apollo 8, 11, 13 and 15 all rode in this limousine, and now it's expected to fetch between $250,000 and $350,000 when it hits the auction block on August 18-19 at the Quail.

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