Discover the Ford Bronco Pope Francis Center Edition

Certain vehicles have been linked to certain personalities, whether in fiction or in real life. The bond is so strong that the mere mention of the vehicle instantly reminds us of a certain personality.

For example, the Duke brothers from the television show Dukes of Hazzard are linked to a 1969 Dodge Charger named “General Lee”. Caped Crusader and Dark Knight Batman drives solo in his state-of-the-art Batmobile. In real life, the President of the United States rides in a Cadillac limo nicknamed The Beast. Even the Pope has his own carousel called the Popemobile.

The pope is not only the head of the worldwide Catholic Church, but he is also a sovereign, especially that of the Vatican City State. Whenever he visits a country, he tries to connect and bless the faithful crowd even on the streets, riding in the popemobile.

Recently, Ford customized a new 2021 Ford Bronco to look like the Pope’s official vehicle. But it’s no futile exercise in customization, as this modified Bronco is intended to benefit the homeless in the city of Detroit, via the Pope Francis Center. This is the first edition of the Ford Bronco Pope Francis Center 2021.


Brief history of papal mobility over the centuries


Sedia Gestatoria
CNS Photo/Giancarlo Giuliani, Catholic press photo

Apparently, the pope is not confined to the Vatican; it also moves to other places. The pope was once carried on the Sedia Gestatoria or a chair raised by footmen – a tradition that died out completely in the late 1970s. In the 1800s the pope began to lean on the real power, riding on horse-drawn carriages.

Then the cars arrived on the scene. While automobiles have been around since the 1800s, it wasn’t until 1929 that the Pope officially began using one. Pope Pius XI rode in a 1929 Graham-Paige Type 837 and a year later received a Mercedes-Benz Nürburg 460, which is now believed to be the very first of a dozen Popemobiles from the German automaker.

1980 Ford Bronco converted into Popemobile


1980 Ford Bronco Papamobile
Through Ford

Since then, the pope has rode different papal vehicles with different designs and made by different automakers. Some popemobiles are open-air vehicles while others feature a bulletproof glass enclosure, which was deemed necessary following an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981.

RELATED: Ford Designed This Custom 2021 Bronco For A Pope

Two years earlier, in 1979, Pope John Paul II visited the United States. Ford provided a modified 1980 Bronco as the papal vehicle. Featuring an exterior wrapped in a Wimbledon White finish, the Bronco Popemobile had an open-air rear compartment, allowing Pope John Paul II to stand up and greet the massive American faithful in the streets.

Following the Pope’s visit to the United States in 1979, Ford turned over ownership of the 1980 Bronco Popemobile to the United States Secret Service.

Popemobile inspires unique 2021 Ford Bronco


2021 Ford Bronco Pope Francis Center First Edition Front Quarter 2
Through Ford

Less than 20 years after Pope John Paul II visited the United States, Ford discontinued the Bronco (fifth generation). By a twist of fate, the American automaker has revived the nameplate. The modern Bronco, which has been on the radar of potential customers, offers a reliable combination of power, toughness and technology to carry on the legacy of its predecessors.

Since one of the modern SUV’s predecessors served as a popemobile, perhaps Ford thought it might be a good idea to build another, or at least a Bronco modeled after the 1979 papal vehicle. , the 1980 Bronco Popemobile inspired the creation of a unique modern Bronco – the 2021 Ford Bronco Pope Francis Center First Edition.

Certainly not a true popemobile but inspired by one, the 2021 Ford Bronco Pope Francis Center First Edition is the result of a collaboration between Ford and the Pope Francis Center in Detroit. The project aims to raise funds for the latter’s mission to eliminate chronic homelessness in the city by 2030. To raise the funds, the 2021 Ford Bronco Pope Francis Center First Edition would be put under the hammer.

Together, Ford and the Pope Francis Center worked on the theme ideas and colors, while ensuring the resulting creation still paid homage to the original 1966 Bronco.

A first edition of the Bronco Pope Francis Center rich in heritage


2021 Ford Bronco Pope Francis Center First Edition Front
Through Ford

The project started with a 2021 Ford Bronco First Edition four-door model donated by David Fischer Jr., president and CEO of The Suburban Collection Holdings. With the theme and colors already planned, Ford began the custom build.

As for colors, the 2021 Ford Bronco Pope Francis Center First Edition has been wrapped in the same finish as the 1980 Bronco Popemobile – Wimbledon White. Interestingly, while this color was available on the original Bronco, it is nowhere to be found on the current palette. The Wimbledon White finish is complemented by Rapid Red reflective striping and Bronco First Edition graphics on the sides and corners of the hood.


RELATED: Pope Francis’ old white Lamborghini is now available for $10

The first edition Bronco Pope Francis Center also includes heritage-inspired silver-painted elements, such as the one-piece grille face and the upper section of the Ford Performance metal modular front bumper. The unique Bronco rolls on custom 18-inch wheels inspired by Detroit Steel Wheels heritage with a matching Wimbledon White finish as well as a Rapid Red center stripe.

More things expected from a modern Bronco


Ford Bronco Pope Francis First Edition 2021 front row
Through Ford

Additionally, the 2021 Ford Bronco Pope Francis Center First Edition is loaded with Ford Performance Parts accessories including a roof light bar, side pod lights and wheel lights from Rigid, Ford Accessory Tube Doors original and a MOLLE webbing system. It also includes an in-vehicle safe, full vehicle coverage, and garage storage bags for tube doors.

Inside, the unique Bronco features a Wimbledon White painted dashboard with air vent accents, grab handles and Bronco’s signature red lettering. The interior also includes black seat surrounds, black trim, as well as white vinyl on the seats and door panel.

Sold for $500,000 at Barrett-Jackson


Ford Bronco Pope Francis Center 2021 First Edition Badge
Through Ford

The project whose ultimate goal is to raise funds for the Pope Francis Center has been achieved. The project achieved that goal after the first-edition 2021 Ford Bronco Pope Francis Center sold for $500,000 at Barrett-Jackson’s 2022 Scottsdale auction on January 27, 2022.

Source: Ford, Rome reports


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