October 29, 2005 in Nation/World

Your own papal Escort

Ken Ritter Associated Press
Associated Press photo

A Kruse worker hangs photos of Pope John Paul II around a 1975 Ford Escort GL owned by the late pontiff.
(Full-size photo)

LAS VEGAS – If it hadn’t once been owned by Pope John Paul II, the light blue 1975 Ford Escort GL wouldn’t attract a second glance.

It has no hubcaps, no air conditioning, no radio. The engine built 30 years ago at a Ford plant in Cologne, Germany, won’t start.

“Christ had a donkey,” auctioneer Dean Kruse said as workers prepped and polished the car that will be sold today at the Las Vegas Hilton. “This was a humble car for a humble man.”

The car comes with possible papal possessions: carved wooden rosary beads, a box of wooden matches, a candy tin and a dashboard medallion bearing the likeness of St. Maria Goretti, the patron of youth, young women, purity and victims of rape.

Kruse, based in Auburn, Ind., said he thought the car might fetch as much as $3 million in the auction. The last time Kruse auctioned the car in 1996 it sold for $102,000.

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