Pope borrows ancient Fiat drop-top for papal visit

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Pope borrows ancient Fiat drop-top for papal visit

More known for travelling in a bullet-proof Tupperware box sat on top of a bespoke luxury SUV, Pope Francis has bucked the trend for papal transport, opting instead for an open-top Fiat Campagnola off-roader.

Visiting the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa to conduct a mass on a beach used as a launching point for countless doomed sea crossings by illegal migrants, the Argentinian Pope borrowed the 20-year-old workhorse from an island resident.

"The pope said he wanted nothing wasted on this trip," said a spokesman for the local mayor.

"Since everyone knows everyone here, the town hall contacted a man who owns a villa and asked to borrow his car, which is over 20 years old," reported The Telegraph.

The Campagnola has previously been a favourite of Popes until the attempted assassination of John Paul II in 1981. After that the wheels of choice have been a converted bomb-proof Mercedes ML with a gold trimmed bullet-proof glass compartment for its single passenger.

The move to the rickety Fiat is part of Pope Francis's calls for a "poor" Church, dedicated to the world's deprived, and has urged his underlings to shun the latest cars and other material trappings of modern life.

"It hurts my heart when I see a priest with the latest model car," he said, addressing an audience of trainee priests.

"If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world."

Currently the Pope favors a humble Ford Focus hatchback to get himself around Vatican City, which goes to show even the most exalted religious leader can appreciate good value when he sees it.