The Vatican has been using popemobiles for over half a century, but now there's finally one from Nissan.
Used by Pope Francis during his visit to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, the latest popemobile is based on a relatively humble NP300 Hardbody pickup.
In order to prepare the truck for his holiness, the NP300 was modified to Vatican specifications by ABC Coachworks. Nissan didn’t go into specifics, but the pictures reveal the pickup was equipped with a canopy to protect the pontiff from potentially inclement weather.
Also Read: Pope Francis Driven In Humble Fiat 500L During His U.S. Visit
The NP300 was also outfitted with a rear podium, a bed-mounted chair and numerous handrails. Other updates include the installation of Vatican flags and seals as well as a special "SCV1" number plate which is an "abbreviation of the Latin Status Civitatis Vaticanae (Vatican City State)."
The upgrades were overseen by the Diocese of Mauritius and it was a rather unusual task for ABC Coachworks as the company normally specializes in coach and bus building as well as modifying vehicles for police, fire and ambulance use.
According to Nissan Africa’s sales and operations boss, Jim Dando, the decision to use the NP300 was a "fantastic testament to the vehicle’s enduring longevity and popularity across all African markets." The company added the truck will now be put on permanent display by the local diocese as a tribute to the pope’s visit to the island.
While the truck isn’t particularly glamorous, it’s fitting for Pope Francis who has previously said priests should drive humble cars. He’s taken that advice to heart as the pontiff has used a handful of low-key vehicles including a Dacia Logan, a Fiat 500L and a Skoda Rapid Spaceback.