Pope Francis smiles at supporters outside the Vatican Apostolic Nunciature in Santiago, Chile. (Photographer: Tamara Merino/Bloomberg)

A Spanish Rental Car Agency Bought Pope Francis’s Lamborghini

(Bloomberg) -- “And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company.” —Genesis 50:9

In this case, the very great company is Pope Francis and Automobili Lamborghini, and the chariot is a 610-horsepower, one-off Huracán with a top speed of 202 miles per hour. A product of the Italian automaker’s Ad Personam customization program, the supercar came in Vatican City colors, “Bianco Monocerus” white with “Gallo Tiberino” gold leaf accents, and was presented to the pope last November.

On Saturday, Rent Car Deluxe, a Spanish rental car agency, bought it for 809,375 euros ($960,797) at an RM Sotheby’s auction in Monte Carlo.

Proceeds from the special edition exotic are slated for reconstruction of Christian communities along the Nineveh Plain near the Tigris River in Iraq, among other charities. And in keeping with the spirit of the sale, Rent Car Deluxe plans to donate future rental proceeds to charity as well. (Which calls for a listen to that classic joke about the “Pope Chauffeur.”)

Victor Masip , the company’s marketing and communications director, says there will be no fixed cost for the Huracán rental: “We want people to suggest a price.” Expect to offer at least 3,500 euros per day, the current rate of its Huracán Performante—and that one has no any holy provenance.

After picking up the car in Monaco, Chief Executive Officer Martin López says he’ll drive to the Vatican in hopes of gaining an audience with the Pope before returning to Spain. RCD plans on making the Pope-mobile available immediately, first in Murcia and then at the company’s Barcelona and Madrid locations.

“It will be exactly as we get it,” says Masip over the phone. 

“Help the poor children by renting the blessed car,” adds López.

If co-branding with the pope seems a smart idea, consider Martin Luther’s Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgence. In what was better known as his “95 Theses,” Luther warned against a papacy that sold its influence. In 1517, Pope Leo X began offering his now-infamous indulgences to raise money for renovating St. Peter’s Basilica. On the plus side, Leo X preserved the world’s largest church and most sublime example of Renaissance architecture. On the minus side, it led to a colossal splintering of the church and tainted Leo X’s legacy with corruption. 

Pope Francis’s Huracán isn’t quite a Reformation-sized storm. Still, for lucky drivers, it can surely speed you toward temptation and deliver you from evil in an awful hurry.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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