Regardless of what your beliefs are when talking about the moon landing of 1969, for the sake of this article let’s just agree that the United States did land on the moon several times between 1969 and 1972. We have all gone outside to enjoy the crisp night air and glazed up at the moon to ponder the meaning of life and the mysteries of the universe, probably while under the influence of a Pink Floyd album. But I bet most of you have never gone outside to stare up at the moon to think about the barn find at is up there collecting space patina.
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 barnfind 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 space miles on its odometer.
A barnfind is car jargon for any car that has been left in a “barn” to be forgotten or to rust. The term is not specific to barns as cars can be hidden away in just about anywhere like: basements, fields, containers, bottom of a lake, or in this case, the moon. There is a tragic romance to the mystic of a barnfind, because a car is built for a purpose which is to transport people from A to B, so a car that has been left in the dark with only father time to keep it company has virtually no purpose in life. That is until someone discovers it and brings it back to life or into the light at least. Gearheads love a good barnfind story, especially if the car in question is a rare long forgotten piece of automotive history.
One night while looking up at the moon, I kept thinking about the moon buggies and wondered if they would ever be road worthy again. Then I thought about the latest version of the moon buggy that NASA built just before the US government cut their funding. The question comes to mind: What is more tragic? A moon buggy left on the moon to forever stare at the Earth, or a moon buggy left on Earth to forever stare at the moon? Although they do not look like the typical sedans and SUV’s we zoom around in, they were still built with the purpose to transport us to a destination so I think about them the same way I would think about a lost Ford GT-40 in a warehouse collecting rat nests.
As the song goes, “I think it’s going to be a long long time”, before these buggies return home for the hero welcome they deserve. When that time comes it will be interesting to see where they end up, either in a museum or rolling across the block at Barrett Jackson.