October 29, 2005
Late pope’s Ford Escort sells for $680,000
CHICAGO (Reuters) - The only car the late Pope John Paul II
ever owned sold at auction for $680,000 on Saturday to a
Houston attorney and car collector.
The car, which fetched much less than previous estimates of
$2 million to $5 million, attracted four or five bids before
being purchased by John O'Quinn, said a spokeswoman for the
Kruse International auction house.
in Las Vegas after a father-son ownership spat was resolved
earlier this month.
The humble four-door sedan was purchased through the same
auction house a decade ago by Illinois restaurateur Jim Rich
for $102,000. He put the vehicle on display under glass in his
suburban Chicago restaurant, but the establishment was forced
to close a year ago.
Rich, who is in bankruptcy, got into a court battle earlier
this year with his father, Jerome Rich, over a $1.7 million
debt the father said the son owed, delaying the car's auction.
A federal judge ordered the car given to Jerome Rich for
Father and son have settled their differences, and proceeds
of the sale will be distributed by Jim Rich's bankruptcy
Pope John Paul, who died in April, drove the car himself
and put 60,000 miles on it before giving it in 1996 to Kruse
International, an Indiana rare automobile museum and auction
house, to sell with the proceeds going to charity.