Ford's Latest Bronco One-Off Is Excellent, Somehow Pope-Themed

·2 min read
Photo credit: Ford
Photo credit: Ford

After selling the first production 2022 Bronco at a Barrett-Jackson auction last year, Ford is once again bringing one to the auction house this week. This example, however, is a four-door with a theme. This one is a customized four-door Bronco First Edition, set to be auctioned to support Detroit's Pope Francis Center. To follow the theme, the Bronco is Pope-themed.

Photo credit: Ford
Photo credit: Ford

Ford is calling the Bronco the Pope Francis Center First Edition, but it is actually a tribute to a past Pope. The truck is themed after another custom Bronco designed by Ford, that time used to transport Pope John Paul II on a tour of the U.S. in October of 1979. As glass-enclosed Popemobiles as we know them were not designed until a later attempt on John Paul II's life, this proto-Popemobile was simply a Bronco with a specially-designed bed for easy papal access.

Photo credit: Ford
Photo credit: Ford

The Bronco Pope Francis Center First Edition eschews the pope compartment for a more traditional design, but it takes a white-dominant color scheme from the Pope John Paul II truck. That color, in this specific case a Wimbledon White from Ford's archives, is paired with matching white wheels, red accents, and a silver grille to add a vintage look.

The retro look fits the Bronco's existing nods to the past perfectly. The Detroit Steel Wheels-sourced wheels shine in the snow and the red accents pop throughout the cabin. It may be one of the strangest partnerships in automotive history, but Ford might have something here with its nod to the papacy.

Photo credit: Ford
Photo credit: Ford

Like this Bronco, the Pope Francis Center is not actually connected to any pope. It is a center that was opened to help the homeless community in downtown Detroit first opened in 1990 that has grown steadily since, taking the name of the current pope in recognition of his work for the poor back in 2016. The sale of this Bronco will be an extension of Ford's existing partnership with the charitable organization, one that started with an $800,000 donation in 2013. The truck will be sold this Thursday afternoon.

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