It used to be that a rusty, forgotten, car in a barn was just that, a forgotten car that could be sold next to nothing with the promise that it would be dragged out of there before sundown. Now, those same vintage junkers are breaking auction records and getting their own spotlight at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It’s great that a lot of these machines often get a second life when restored. I don’t personally see the point in leaving them in a state of decay and putting a price tag on the dirt it has collected. It’s a car, not a statue.
The popularity with barn find cars in recent years comes down to the fact that people love a good story. Car enthusiasts are no different, especially if the car in question is a rare long forgotten piece of automotive history. I know I’ve certainly day dream about finding a lost AC Cobra or special ordered Hemi in a barn with an owner who is uninterested in cars and lets me get it for cheap. Who hasn’t?
As motoring enthusiasts we show passion for all automobiles, but there are 3 vehicles we often neglect. Three vehicles that all of us can see when we look up at the stars. They are, in my opinion, the ultimate barn find. The 3 Lunar Roving Vehicles, or Lunar Rovers, that were left on the moon during the NASA Apollo missions of the early 1970’s.
Put aside your beliefs about the moon landing of 1969, for the sake of this article. (This is for entertainment purposes after all).
A total of three Lunar Roving Vehicles were used during the last three Apollo space missions between 1971 and 1972. Those moon buggies have since been left up there to live out the lyrics to Elton John’s Rocket Man. Here on Earth the only examples of the LRV we have are the training buggies and the model on display at the Smithsonian museum. That means the three buggies on the moon are technically the ultimate barn find to whomever can eventually find a way to bring them back to the Earth. Because although a lost Bugatti or Hemi is an incredible find, you can’t beat a car that has patina from a different planet.
As the song goes, “I think it’s going to be a long long time”, before these vehicles return home for the hero's welcome they deserve. Odds are they’ll be up there forever, but it’s a nice sentiment to imagine a scenario where they come back home and roll onto an auction block. How much do you think they would go for?