You may already know that Ford and the Pope Francis Center just auctioned off a Pope-themed 2021 Bronco and that the proceeds of said auction will go to fight homelessness in Detroit. What you may not know is that in Mexico, where the Pope is essentially a rockstar, we call the supreme pontiff el Papa. And that makes this Ford Bronco First Edition the Papa Bronco, as far as I’m concerned.
The auction closed on Thursday afternoon, so you already missed your only chance to guiltlessly hoon the Papa Bronco off-road, which Ford says is rocking a paint finish tracing back to the original Bronco:
The custom build wears classic Wimbledon White exterior paint, a color featured on the 1966 Bronco but not available on today’s Bronco lineup. Custom wheels with matching Wimbledon White finish by Detroit Steel Wheels feature a Rapid Red stripe at the center to match striping on the bodysides and hood corners. Iconic Silver-painted elements, such as the face of the one-piece grille and the upper portion of the Ford Performance heavy-duty modular front metal bumper, add to the heritage-inspired look.
The omission of the Wimbledon finish on modern Broncos is sad. I’m against boring white paint, but it’s a nice contrast to darker themes we see often.
The Papa Bronco’s interior keeps the theme, and adds MOLLE straps! To carry rosaries, bibles, other religious accoutrement.
The Papa Bronco has a distant relative, too, which Ford says served as an American-made Popemobile in 1979:
Ford provided a specially modified 1980 Bronco for use by Pope John Paul II on his visit to the United States, Oct. 1-7, 1979. The vehicle, in Wimbledon White, featured an open-air rear compartment, allowing the Pope to stand and greet his friends and followers. After the Pope’s visit, ownership of the Bronco was turned over to the United States Secret Service.
Wait, what? Why did the Secret Service get to keep the ’80 Bronco Popemobile? Did Jimmy Carter have a thing for Popemobiles, or did he and the Papa Juan Pablo just vibe? Whatever the case, that third-generation Bronco was pretty rad.