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Pope Francis Goes Low-Glam With New Popemobile

Pope Francis has won hearts across many faiths in large part to his sincere love for and relatability to the regular guy. After all, Papa Francisco, as he's endearingly known, once worked as a bar bouncer and a floor sweeper, for Pete's sake. He further solidified that persona during his trip to the US when he skipped dinner with our nation's highest-level politicos, instead dining with area homeless. He's proven time and time again that he's not above snapping a selfie with members of his flock. And for automotive enthusiasts, he has repeatedly humbled the papal fleet with his choice of rides decidedly less glam than those of previous popes.

The earliest popemobile was actually a gilded throne or "sedan chair" carried on posts by footmen with some serious strength. It first got wheels in 1800 with a series of ornate, red velvet-upholstered, horsedrawn carriages. Not until 1929 did the papal ride get motorized. And during the later half of the 20th century, all popemobiles underwent serious security revamps prompted by the 1970 assassination attempt on Pope Paul VI and another on Pope John Paul II in 1981. That is, until Pope Francis complained of feeling like a "sardine" in the closed cabs of the official ride, opting instead for a series of less pricey, sometimes open-air vehicles.

Check out the list of chosen popemobiles throughout the ride's 215-year history:

Pope Pius XI

1929 Fiat 525
1929 Graham Paige Type 837
1930 Mercedes-Benz Nürburg

John XXIII

1960 Mercedes-Benz 300d

Paul VI

1964 Lincoln Continental
1965 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman
1974 Citroen SM
1973 Fiat Campagnola

John Paul II

1979 FSC Star
1979 Ford D-Series
1980 Mercedes-Benz 230-G
1982 Range Rover State Review Car
1982 Leyland Constructor
1982 SEAT Panda
1984 GMC Sierra
1985 Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL
1987 Mercedes-Benz 608
1988 Peugeot 504
1988 Ferrari Mondial
1997 Mercedes-Benz S-class convertible
1999 Bus
2002 Mercedes-Benz ML340

Benedict XVI

2007 Mercedes-Benz G-wagon

Francis

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
2014 Jeepney
2015 Isuzu D-Max
2015 Kia Sedona
1984 Renault 4
2015 Jeep Wrangler
2015 Fiat 500L

Which ride would you choose if you were in the pope's place? Post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.

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