Pope Francis got the keys to a fancy new supercar Lamborghini Huracán, which was given to him by company execs at the Vatican and will be auctioned off for charity.
The Huracan sports car, with gold lines running along the hood and angles of the car’s body was presented to Francis in front of his residence at the Vatican’s Saint Martha Guesthouse Nov. 15, was blessed by the pontiff, who bent to scrawl his signature on its gleaming bonnet in the presence of top executives from the luxury Italian sports car brand.
It will be auctioned at Sotheby’s and the Pope has decided to give the proceeds to three different charitable projects: rebuilding the homes and churches on the Nineveh Plains in Iraq, assisting victims of human trafficking and prostitution rings, and missionary work in Africa.
Since the ISIS invasion of the Nineveh Plains in 2014, thousands of homes, schools, hospitals and religious buildings were completely or partially destroyed. The project, with a total estimated cost of $250 million, aims to continue providing a concrete response to Christians from the Nineveh Plains who want to return to their homes.
Proceeds from the raffle will also directly benefit the Pope John XXIII Community, which assists women who have been victims of human trafficking and prostitution. Pope Francis has met members of the community at the Vatican on several occasions, and he visited them in August 2016 as one of his “Mercy Friday” outings during the Jubilee of Mercy.
Funds from the raffle will also support two Italian associations that carry out missionary work in Africa, one being the “GICAM” project of hand surgeon Professor Marco Lanzetta, and the other being the “Friends of Central Africa” organization, which for two years has led projects dedicated primarily to care for women and children.
Huracán made its debut at the March 2014 Geneva Auto show, at a base cost of roughly $250,000, and was released in the second quarter of the year, quickly becoming Lamborghini’s most popular and best-selling car.
The sleek supercar Huracan boasts of 610 metric horsepower and 4 wheel drive, as well as a naturally aspirated V10 engine and a full-LED lighting system. In 2014, the Huracán was named “Supercar of the Year” by car magazine Top Gear.
With six different models of the Huracán on the market, the “papal-version” marks a special 7th edition created specifically for Pope Francis.
It is not the first time pope Francis has done similar raffles for high-end gifts in the past. In 2013 he was given a Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide, which was sold to a private buyer for roughly $327,000, far exceeding the $16-22,000 presale estimate.
FIAT Chrysler made a pair of FIAT 500Ls available for the Pope to use during his time in Philadelphia, shortly after his September 2015 visit to the United States both of the cars were auctioned off to support local charity.
Also, in April 2016 a white skullcap – known as a “zucchetto” worn by prelates in the Catholic Church – was sold for around $18,000, after the owner had bought it and exchanged it with the Pope during a general audience. At least part of the funds went to support a children’s charity.