Pope's Chrysler LeBaron Imperial up 6.7% on estimate at Mecum

A 1966 Chrysler LeBaron Crown Imperial, given to the Pope on his visit to the US in 1965, has beaten its high estimate by 6.7% at auction.

The vehicle, gifted to Pope Paul VI a year before the model's public release, was used by his entourage during his 14 hour visit to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly.

Pope Chrysler
The Papal connection added more than $10,000 to the car’s value

It sold for a hammer price of $32,000 at Mecum's Dallas auction on September 5, exceeding its $30,000 high estimate.

Featuring black leather interior, power seats and Wonderbar radio, and showing just 18,836 miles on the clock, the vehicle was no doubt impressive.

Yet it was the car's Papal connection that was behind its strong performance, with the same model without holy provenance normally achieving a maximum of $20,000.

We've seen the Pope's impact on the car market before.

In 2011 a 1964 Lincoln Continental Limousine, especially adapted to transport Pope Paul during the same visit, auctioned for $220,000.

The 1964 Lincoln also received the returning astronauts from Apollo 11 as well as those from the "successful failure" that was the Apollo 13 mission - further enhancing its value.

We have pieces of the red carpet Pope Benedict XVI walked on outside Westminster Cathedral during his visit to London in 2010 to purchase today.

The first two days of the four day auction have also seen a 1931 Studebaker Commander Sedan achieve $29,000, while a 1934 Ford Flatbed Pickup made $33,000.

Meanwhile a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop sold for $44,000.

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