Prepare to shell out a lot of money if you want to go home with this Escort sedan

A ratty looking 1976 Ford Escort GL sedan is expected to sell for as much as $300,000 at a coming RM Sotheby’s auction, all because it was once owned by St. John Paul the Great, a lot of whom know him more as the late Pope John Paul II. The unassuming Escort isn’t in the best of condition, but its provenance is the biggest reason why it’s predicted to go for that much money.

A Mild-Mannered Ford Escort is Expected to Fetch Huge Money at An RM Sotheby's Auction Exterior
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Pope John Paul II owned the Escort before he was elected as pope in 1978

As far as second-hand models go, it’s hard to imagine a 1976 Ford Escort selling for this much money. But it’s also unlike any Ford Escort you’ll ever see, largely because of the man who once owned it.

According to multiple reports, Pope John Paul II owned the Escort before he was elected as pope in 1978. It’s unclear what happened to the car after his election; it was reported back in 1996 that it was sold to a man named Jim Rich for $102,000. Nine years later in 2005, Rich put the car up for auction shortly after PJP II’s death. The sentiment around his passing helped the Escort sell for a staggering $690,000 to famous car collector John O’Quinn.

O’Quinn has reportedly held on to the car since that time, but now appears ready to part with it, hence its availability at RM Sotheby’s upcoming Auburn Fall auction that will be held over Labor Day weekend. It’s not tipped to fetch as high a price tag as it did 13 years ago, but that’s largely attributed to the fact that it was last sold shortly after the pope’s passing.

A Mild-Mannered Ford Escort is Expected to Fetch Huge Money at An RM Sotheby's Auction Exterior
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It wouldn’t be surprising if it fetches $100,000 or $1 million.

Still, you’re not going to find an unassuming Escort with faded paint, a large dent on its front passenger side door, and a rusty engine bay sell for $10,000, let alone $300,000. That’s the estimate RM Sotheby’s has for this car. It’s not a given that we’re going to see someone bid that high, but even then, there’s a chance that the estimate is sitting on the low-end. There’s no telling how much this car can sell when you have people who are willing to pay a premium for a chance to own arguably one of the most unique cars in the world.

In a sea of Ferraris that are scheduled to go up for auction in the same event, this Escort could turn into the headline act. It wouldn’t be surprising if it fetches $100,000 or $1 million. It’s hard to believe, but that’s the kind of range we’re looking at for this ratty 1976 Ford Escort.

Further reading

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Source: RM Sotheby’s

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