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Around the Hobby: Popemobile Acquired by Petersen Museum

"Around the Hobby" News, March 3, 2009: Petersen Museum to display 'Popemobile'; Seattle collector agrees to return his historic Turcat-Mery to France; Wally Parks Museum launches education fund; Hershey Region AACA received Lee Iacocca Award; award winning photos on display; contract signed for Forge Invitational Show.
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A 1998 Cadillac De Ville parade phaeton, more commonly
known as a “Popemobile”, specially designed for the late
Pope John Paul II.

Petersen Museum to display 'Popemobile'
The Petersen Automotive Museum has recently added another unique vehicle to its collection: a 1998 Cadillac De Ville parade phaeton, more commonly known as a “Popemobile.” The vehicle was specially designed for the late Pope John Paul II to present his now famous “Address to All Generations” to a crowd of more than 100,000 of his followers in the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Until recently, the Popemobile resided in the General Motors Heritage Center Collection. The car briefly visited the Petersen Automotive Museum in 2005 for the “Presidents, Popes and Potentates: Cars of Heads of State” exhibit.

Lengthened and modified into a convertible, the lavish DeVille is equipped with an elevated platform for the armchair-like papal seat, wide doors, retractable steps and official Vatican seals and flags. While the General Motors de Mexico design studio began work on the car, Cadillac contracted with the American coachbuilding firms of Eureka Coach and Roush Technologies to complete the project in a mere six weeks. The Pontiff blessed the vehicle upon its debut.

Seattle collector agrees to return his historic Turcat-Mery to France
A Seattle collector has agreed to return his historic 1919 Turcat-Mery to France. The car was the subject of a custody fight after the French government claimed that the car was a “historic landmark” and had been imported to the U.S. illegally.

In a settlement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. collector who owned the car, Charles Morse, agreed to pay to ship the car to Paris, according to a story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He will remain its owner until it is sold in France.

The Turcat was built for the Duc de Montpensier, a descendant of the Bourbon family that once ruled France. The car was bought in the Netherlands in 2005 by Morse, who shipped it to the United States in 2005. It won top honors in its class in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance that year.

Wally Parks Museum launches education fund
The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum has launched the Wally Parks Memorial Education Fund for students seeking careers in the automotive industry. The grant is geared toward high-school and college-level students who are pursuing a career as an automotive technician or as an automotive industry professional.

Hershey Region AACA receives The Lee Iacocca Award
The Hershey Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) has been named the recipient of The Lee Iacocca Award. The award was presented in February at the AACA national awards banquet, part of the AACA 73rd Annual Meeting festivities in Philadelphia, Pa.

Created in 2006 by the Iacocca Foundation in its effort to find a cure for diabetes and garner financial support for on-going research, The Lee Iacocca Award recognizes car shows and enthusiasts for outstanding “dedication to excellence in perpetuating an American automotive tradition.”

Award winning photos on display
The award-winning photographs from the Eastern Motorsports Press Association’s Brice Auto Parts/NAPA Photo Contest are currently on display at the Saratoga Automobile Museum.

For the second consecutive year, the winning photos went directly from the press association’s convention in Philadelphia to the Saratoga Springs museum.

Contract signed for Forge Invitational Show
A long-term contract for The Forge Invitational Show has been signed with the city of Kingsport, Tenn., and the Marriott MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center. This year’s show is scheduled for September 11-12.

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