The Popemobile is the name given to the modified car used by the pope when he appears in parades. While the pope has used many modified cars for decades the name only come in to use around 1980 when Pope John Paul II started to use the converted Mercedes Benz G-Wagon. The G Class or G wagon is a Mercedes Benz 4WD that has been in production since 1979. The G wagon is popular with armies around the world and is known for its strong go anywhere design. Pope John Paul II’s G wagon from 1981 is on display in the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart Germany.
The Cadillac Eldorado was built from 1953 until 2002 but the classics were the early years up to the early 60s which feature huge amounts of chrome and fins. It was in a 1954 Eldorado Convertible (not too much dissimilar to the one in the video above) that Sammy Davis Jnr ran off the road and poked his eye out with chrome centre of the steering wheel. These were the days when car manufacturers built cars for looks alone, today the wheel would be made of soft foam not steel and contain an airbag, he probably would have been held in by his seat belt something people didnt worry about in the 50s. Back then you could mount huge spikes on the cars bonnet and it would of been OK. Today car manufacturers are even designing their cars to be safer for pedestrians as well, we thought pedestrian safety was fitting a horn to every car.
The Borland Racing Daytona Sportscar is a replica of Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe built in 1964. The Borland version features a body that sits space frame with mechanicals from the Holden SS Commodore, but at 1100 kg the 6.0 litre LS1 Gen III V8 certainly packs a punch. The car has been in limitated production since 2001 with only a handful of them built, one of them going to Aussie legend racing driver Peter Brock, he crashed his into a tree killing himself during the Targa West on September 8 2006. The video above is of the last lap recorded before that fateful day, as you can see it takes great skill to keep the thing on the road and unlike Bathurst where you can bounce off the concrete barriers you can easily wrap yourself around a tree. Interestingly the body of the original Shelby Daytona was designed by a guy named Pete Brock, no relation to the Peter Brock of Oz.
[youtube dioRwB4RvrQ]Liberace was well known for collecting high priced toys like pianos, jewellery, fur coats and exotic cars. He generally liked to make a grand entrance on stage in one of his fancy cars with most of them modified to give it that Liberace touch. The one in the video above is a rare Rolls Royce featuring thousands of mirror tiles across its body. Today this car along with a hand-painted red, white and blue Rolls-Royce, a roadster covered in Austrian rhinestones as well as cars from a London cab to a heavily modified VW Beetle feature in the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas.
Today's video is a bit of a long one from a TV program that used modern forensics to piece together James Deans last moments. Dean famously loved fast cars and he traded a Porshe 356 in on a Porshe 550 Spyder that got nicknamed "little Bastard", Alec Guinness told Dean he would kill himself in the car within a week, ironically a week before his death. The car went on to hurt and kill several others after the wreak was bought and parts of it like the engine, wheels and drive train were sold off. Considered cursed the wreak of the 550 was put on display by the California Highway Patrol but the garage it was stored in burnt down with the car escaping unscathed. The car was last seen in 1960 when it was lost in transit while being shipped back to its owner.
The first in our series of car of the dead stars is the SS-100x, it was the secret service name of the Presidential limo that JFK got shot in. Based on a 1961 4 door Lincoln Continental the car was modified to a convertible (probably not a great idea looking back) and also featured an array of high tech gadgets including a radio link back to the White House. The car featured a variety of tops that could be popped on when needed and by the time the car was finished being modified a 1962 grill and bumper assy was fitted to keep the car up to date. Following Kennedy's assassination the car was modified again returning it to a closed in sedan, but this time with bulletproof armor. The car continued as a presidential limousine until 1967 and was finally retired from goverment service in 1978 to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.