Back
Back

Strong Stories

Travelling in the name of the lord.

In 1980 the Pope visited Germany. Here are some impressive photos of the Pontifex and his “Popemobile” converted G-Class on his trips to Cologne, Brühl, Bonn, Mainz, Münster, Osnabrück, Fulda, Munich, and Altötting.

Reaching out to the whole world.

Pope John Paul II and the G-Class always had something in common: both were attracted to places where they had never been before, and both always tried to reach out to the world. Accordingly the theme of the Pope's visit to Germany in 1980 was an ecumenical one, namely rapprochement between the Catholic and Protestant churches. So it was quite logical that a G-Class was privileged to accompany the mission - a successful mission. The Joint Ecumenical Commission was called into being following the Pope's visit – a significant impulse for cooperation between the two major Christian churches.

Forgiveness of traffic offences.

It happened on 17 November 1980. Pope John Paul II had just reached the cathedral square in Mainz with his G-Class. On the way there, the vehicle caught the attention of a police officer as it passed through the pedestrian precinct. The officer was on duty, and driving in a pedestrian precinct is forbidden. So the G-Class with the registration number S – JP 2 received a traffic ticket amounting to 20 German marks. The ways of the lord are mysterious, and an out-of-court settlement was arranged. The fine was never paid.

The man who drove the Pope.

Heinrich Wangler has been a G-Class driver since the vehicle's inception. Even before the market launch, he absolved countless kilometres on and off-road in it as a test driver. So it was only logical that he was chosen when a driver was needed for the Popemobile.

Heinrich Wangler remembers: 'Usually I would be driving blind through the crowds of people, always following the police motorcycle escort.' An intercom system connected him to the Holy Father, who constantly asked him to drive more slowly so that he could shake the hands of individual pilgrims.

Experience more stories.