Used car for sale: 1971 plates. Buyer must collect. Price: $9.5m

It’s the most expensive car ever made, and although four models were manufactured originally, only one remains on the planet. Three Lunar Roving Vehicles were carried to the Moon on Apollo missions 15, 16, and 17, with one spare kept behind on Earth. Those four aluminium-framed buggies cost a grand total of $38m back in 1971, making each of the four worth nearly $10m back then. You have to imagine if someone were to salvage the buggies from the lunar surface now, these things would be priceless. If you fancy a Lunar Vehicle of your own, it’s probably not worth saving up, and consider rather taking a leaf out of Robson M‘s book and building a LEGO version.

LEGO Apollo 15 16 17 Moon Buggy

This is a cracking little LEGO model — relatively simple construction, but immediately recognisable with just enough detail to capture its inspiration. And the presentation is top-notch, perfectly echoing the high-contrast photos of the Apollo missions. My only gripe? Those rubber tyres. The real LRV had aluminium mesh wheels to cope with the extremes of temperature and to throw off the lunar dust. But tyres aside, I still want one of these to go with my 10266 Lunar Lander set — turning it from a depiction of the first manned landing, into one of those last trips (for now) which we took to our nearest celestial neighbour.

1 comment on “Used car for sale: 1971 plates. Buyer must collect. Price: $9.5m

  1. Purple Dave

    About a decade ago, there was a series on History Channel called Life After People. The premise was fairly simple, which is that if, for some undefined reason, all people just vanished overnight, all the stuff we leave behind would begin to deteriorate. Each episode focuses on a single city, and tries to explain how various landmarks would suffer the years of neglect, with a “we know this because” clip at the end where they show a real abandoned city, and how it has been ravaged by time. Detroit had the ignoble distinction of being the only city to feature as both the “before” and the “after” examples.

    One of the other differences with the Detroit episode is that it touched on something that’s not a building, which is cars. Anyone who knows anything about storing classic cars knows that the rubber parts are particularly vulnerable, as tires, hoses, wire insulation, and gaskets will start to rot over time. Vinyl will crumble to dust, and steel and iron rust. But they singled out one Detroit-made car that would survive for centuries, which is the lunar rover (I think they forgot about the other three that joined it on the Moon’s surface). In the absence of air, they posited, it would be free of the deterioration that plagues Earth-bound vehicles…but I’m not entirely convinced that this is true. The possibility of getting smacked by an asteroid aside (it’s a remote possibility, but it _could_ happen), lunar rovers are exposed to unfiltered sunlight. Anything that’s not metal (and admittedly most of it is) would be likely to deteriorate even faster on the Moon than on Earth due to being exposed to more powerful solar radiation. Additionally, the batteries may well have corroded by this time. A lot of it, however, might very well be in pristine condition (or, as pristine as something can get when it’s constantly being caked with powdered regolith, as the rovers reportedly were). It’d be really interesting to see how much restoration would actually be needed to get one of them up and running again if we could ever recover one from the lunar surface.

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