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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 October 2005, 03:35 GMT
Late Pope's car sold at auction
The Ford Escort once owned by Pope John Paul in a Las Vegas showroom
The car was billed as the world's most incredible Ford Escort
The only car ever owned by the late Pope John Paul II who died in April has been sold at an auction in Las Vegas.

The light blue 1975 Ford Escort was bought by a Houston lawyer and car collector for $690,000 (340,000).

John Paul is the only pope to have owned a vehicle during his papacy, said auction house Kruse International.

The pontiff clocked 96,560km (60,000 miles) on trips to the mountains for hiking and meditating before asking Kruse to sell it for charity in 1996.

The new owner, John O'Quinn, a personal injury lawyer, said he intended to build a museum to house the car in his home town.

"To me, it's a piece of history," said the 62-year-old. "The car will never be driven.

"But hopefully, in my life, I'll be able to go back and touch this car and feel the pope's spirit."

The vehicle, which was built in Cologne, Germany, went for significantly less than Kruse's $2m to $5m estimate.

The auction house had described the car as "the most incredible and significant Ford Escort in the world".

The seller, Chicago restaurateur Jim Rich, bought the humble sedan for $102,000 at a Kruse auction nearly ten years ago.


SEE ALSO
Pope's life dramatised for US TV
17 Jun 05 |  Entertainment
On the fast track to sainthood
13 May 05 |  Europe

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