Thousands of people gathered around Dublin’s streets over the weekend to see Pope Francis during the first papal visit to Ireland in almost four decades.
The Pontiff had a suite of cars at his disposal, in addition to the Popemobile, most of which were supplied by Skoda. Among them were three special Rapid Spacebacks, which the automaker says were “adapted to comply with the exact specifications from the Vatican”.
The request was simple: finish them in navy blue, add clear windows instead of the rear privacy glass and a couple of chrome dowels on the front fenders for the Vatican flag. The cars in question did have one unique feature, a “specially shaped armrest for the Pontiff”, said Skoda.
All three Rapid Spacebacks used throughout the event had special license plates, with one of them commemorating a previous visit to Ireland by John Paul II in 1979.
Pope Francis was chauffeured to different events in the Skoda cars, with his programme including meetings with government officials, a visit to a homeless shelter and a trip to a concert with performances by Andrea Bocelli.
Subsequent to the event, all three Skoda Rapid Spacebacks were donated to charity.
Skoda had one other model ready for Pope Francis’ visit, a Karoq SUV, which was exhibited throughout the event with its handcrafted and colored windows, “similar to those found in churches”, explained the automaker.