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Want to add Pope Francis’ Harley to your collection?

4 December, 2014

In a special countdown to Harley Davidson’s 110th anniversary celebrations, two commemorative motorcycle petrol tanks were presented to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI — they were signed, and returned to Harley Davidson’s US headquarters to be mounted to their respective motorcycles.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s signature on the petrol tank

One of these remains in the Harley Davidson museum in Milwaukee, USA. The other — the FLSTC 103 Heritage Softail Classic, destined for Bonhams’ 2015 sale — sat awaiting a special ceremony where it would be presented to the Pope at the 110th anniversary celebration back in 2013.

Pope Benedict unexpectedly abdicated in January 2013 and, as a result, the motorcycle was presented to the newly inaugurated Pope Francis.

Entered at no reserve the motorcycle is expected to fetch €15,000–25,000 (NZD$23,800–39,700 approx.) and auction proceeds will be donated to Stowarzyszenie Przyjazny Świat Dziecka (Friendly World Association), a Polish non-profit organization that offers care and support to children and families in need. The Harley-Davidson will be sold on February 5, 2015 as part of Bonhams’ Les Grandes Marques du Monde sale at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Becoming fond of Fords part two – happy times with Escorts

In part one of this Ford-flavoured trip down memory lane I recalled a sad and instructive episode when I learned my shortcomings as a car tuner, something that tainted my appreciation of Mk2 Ford Escort vans in particular. Prior to that I had a couple of other Ford entanglements of slightly more redeeming merit. There were two Mk1 Escorts I had got my hands on: a 1972 1300 XL belonging to my father and a later, end-of-line, English-assembled 1974 1100, which my partner and I bought from Panmure Motors Ford in Auckland in 1980. Both those cars were the high water mark of my relationship with the Ford Motor Co. I liked the Mk1 Escorts. They were nice, nippy, small cars, particularly the 1300, which handled really well, and had a very precise gearbox for the time.
Images of Jim Richards in the Carney Racing Williment-built Twin Cam Escort and Paul Fahey in the Alan Mann–built Escort FVA often loomed in my imagination when I was driving these Mk1 Escorts — not that I was under any illusion of comparable driving skills, but they had to be having just as much fun as I was steering the basic versions of these projectiles.

Fear and loathing the blue oval – part one

The slogan went something like ‘There’s a Ford in your future’. ‘Bugger off!’ were always the words that sprung to my mind. Ford and I have never really got on in the manner of many of my friends, so I’d say my relationship to the brand was distant. The accelerating blur of passing time has helpfully blanketed memories of a few Ford encounters which I probably wanted to forget but I have to admit, now I look at them, they are re-appearing through the mists of time. What comes to mind more readily, to quote some uncharitable wit, is that the letters Ford could stand for ‘fix or repair daily’. Still, I have to ’fess up, there were several Fords in my past.