But they all have in common a desire to go against the trend and to overturn expectations, for a variety of reasons. This means they drive – or have driven, at some point – the most surprisingly weird vehicles.
Pope Francis and a 1984 Renault 4LSince he was elected Pope in 2013, Pope Francis has been going against tradition. Whether through talks of building a “poor Church for the poor,” or showing more acceptance towards the gay community and women, Pope Francis has painted himself as a man of the people, and not necessarily those of the Catholic faith.
Think “ancient” by today’s standards. In 2013, Father Renzo Zocca visited Pope Francis in the Vatican and gave him a 1984 Renault 4L. The car isn’t just old: it’s also been put through its paces quite thoroughly, since the priest had been using it for charity work or to drive poor children across the country. At the time he handed it to the Pope, it had 170,000 miles on the clock, but the Pope still said he would be driving it around the Vatican, when he could.
The story behind this surprising gift is that Father Zocca wrote to the Pope to tell him of the car and how he wanted to give it to him as a present, since the Pope had spoken about leading a simpler life. The Pope tried to deter the priest, by asking him if it wouldn’t be better if he donated the car to charity but, when he saw his determination, he ended up accepting the gift with grace. Apparently, the Pope too had once owned a Renault 4.
George Clooney and Tango T600Before Tesla Motors, there was Commuter Cars. Back in 2005, actor George Clooney, 5 years off his very successful stint on “ER,” became the first celebrity to own and drive an all-electric car. Its name was Tango T600 and it boasted 0-60 in “about 4 seconds,” “crashworthiness better than any production car” and being a “chick magnet.” Pretty bold claims.
At the time Clooney got the car and started to be seen around in it, T600 was not yet mass-produced. Still, it was being advertised heavily but, despite the celebrity endorsement, it would never go into production. The fact that a kit for it costs over $100,000 may have contributed to its untimely demise. As did the ridiculous size, which made it ideal for parking in small spaces but impractical for pretty much everything else.
Will.i.am and the Beetle mutant that cost him $900,000 and 2 years of his lifeBefore Kanye West, Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas fame, was the Renaissance black artist. Contrary to what critics and even his supporters said, he thought he could really do it all, from music to fashion design, tech design and even car construction.
His start as a custom car builder got off with plenty of glitches: he set up IAMAUTO (in caps, because only caps would have worked for his ego) and produced an IAMAUTO Delorean. He said it cost him $700,000 and that he had built it from scratch, which turned out to be false: he had used an actual Delorean and customized it, trying to pass it off for something more special than it was.
In his interviews, the artist tried to explain his obsession with building cars like the mutant Beetle by saying he was looking to inspire kids to become engineers and mathematicians and whatnot. In reality, he built it because he wanted something different for himself and because he thought he could prove to the world that he could do it on his own. People from 2 different shops worked on it and would later tell the media that the reason progress was so slow is because Will.i.am kept changing his mind, kept interfering and didn’t have a clue about cars.