Low miles. One owner. The sales pitch for one of the two Fiats that transported Pope Francis on his visit to Philadelphia proved too much to resist for a couple who paid $82,000 for it.
Michael and Kate Chapman, owners of the Chapman Auto Group, bought the 500L at the Philadelphia Auto Show’s Black Tie Tailgate on Friday night, the Associated Press reports. The auction lasted 11 minutes. Michael is an old friend of mine who served on the Ford National Dealer Council with me some years ago.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia coordinated with the Philadelphia Auto Show to auction off the car that shuttled Pope Francis around the City of Brotherly Love during his visit last September.
The other Fiat that was a temporary Popemobile will go on display at the show, which runs through Feb. 7.
These are not your ordinary Popemobiles. They caused a stir because they are tiny and seemed to fit right into the message of humility that the Pope wanted to convey during his visit to Washington, New York and Philadelphia. The Fiats were dwarfed by the SUVs in the pontiff’s security detail. The 500L is a more bulbous version of the Italian-designed subcompact.
Proceeds from the auction will benefit and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
To ensure authenticity, sponsors of the auction say they made sure that the vehicle identification numbers of the Fiats used by the pontiff, as provided by the Secret Service, matched the VINs of the cars going up for auction and display.
“I’m deeply grateful to Fiat Chrysler for its generosity in giving the Archdiocese of Philadelphia the two Fiats used by Pope Francis during his visit to Philadelphia,” said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput in a statement.
“When we learned that these vehicles would be given to us, we wanted to find some way for the public to see them and answer Pope Francis’ call to love and care for the poor,” the archbishop added. “Our partnership with the Philadelphia Auto Show provides us with the wonderful opportunity to share these vehicles with the community while also connecting with a highly engaged audience for the great benefit of society’s most vulnerable and marginalized members.”