AUBURN, IN – A car that once was Pope John Paul II's personal vehicle will be auctioned off in June, according to the Associated Press.
The 1975 Ford Escort GL will be on display through May 30 at the Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum. It also is to be displayed June 3-5 at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas before it goes up for auction by Kruse International.
Kruse officials expect the light blue car to sell for $1.5 million to $5 million. If not for the pope connection, the car likely would be worth about $1,200.
Kruse also sold the car for John Paul in 1996 to Illinois businessman Jim Rich during the firm's annual Labor Day weekend sale in the town about 20 miles north of Fort Wayne. Rich traveled to Rome to give his check for $102,000 to the pope.
Rich has said he's selling the car due to financial troubles at his restaurant, bar and entertainment complex in Sugar Grove, Ill.
The pope used the car when he was a cardinal in Poland and stored it after he became pope in 1978. The pope's charitable foundation auctioned the car off to pay for expansion of the Polish Pilgrim Home in Rome and for scholarships and expanding the Catholic University in Poland.
Rich said he will donate some of the proceeds of the auction to a Chicago orphanage.