The newest Popemobile?

Pope's Tricycle.jpg“Funky” and “Pope Benedict XVI” generally aren’t found in the same news item, but they are in this CNS blog post about the pontiff receiving a gift of a pair of Piaggio Ape-Calessino three-wheel, two-stroke putt-putt of the sort that buzz (“ape” means bee in Italian) through Roman crowds–or over your piede. Apparently the vehicles were “customized” to make them papally-correct. Not sure what that means. At right is the Ape-Calessino model, clearly not in Vatican white. At left is a “tipper” model from the Piaggio page that strikes me as a bit more useful for the sort of work a pope must do…
Popemobilette.jpgAs Carol Glatz writes:


VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI was presented yesterday with two brand-new customized Piaggio three-wheeled vehicles. The funky, light weight transport vehicles are called “ape” in Italian, which means “bee” — probably for the loud buzzing noise the tiny engine makes as it putters along. Piaggio’s CEO and the head of its Indian subsidiary presented the pope with the two white Ape-Calessino models that were made in India. The gift was made to mark the 60th anniversary of the first Piaggio ape to come off the assembly line.

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posted July 3, 2008 at 6:59 pm

I want one of these! Are they legal in California? When I was a youth, I had a Japanese version of the three wheeled truck. It was slow but steady and got 50 miles to the gallon. I loved it. Now that I’m old, I want to have the fun of driving a simple, fuel efficient put-put again.

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posted October 24, 2008 at 12:51 am

I’m not sure if the diesel engine used in the Calessino complies with EPA and CARB regulations, but the Ape can be easily “federalized” adding lighting devices and (maybe) changing the engine. You can use any single-cylinder engine until 450cc.

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