The prototype lunar rover that was yesterday reported to have been sold for scrap has been saved by a junkyard owner. Motherboard — which covered the original story — reports that the scrap dealer who ended up in possession of the buggie is now hanging onto it after news of its loss was passed around scrapyard email lists. The owner confirmed that the rover is a four-wheeled vehicle similar to the one pictured above (being driven by rocket scientist Wernher von Braun), and says he knew the vehicle was extremely rare.
"I set it aside because I knew what it was."
"The man who originally bought it, from my understanding, he bought it at an auction," the anonymous junkyard owner told Motherboard. "I can't confirm this is true, but he bought it at a NASA auction many years ago. NASA just discarded a lot of that stuff back then. When it was brought to my scrap facility, I set it aside because I knew what it was."
The rover's new owner claims that NASA tried to recover the vehicle from him (as noted in government documents describing its loss) but never offered cash. "NASA told me when they came out to inspect it that they had looked for it for 25 years. It is the von Braun, the first and last they made," he said. "I was told it is the rarest of all the units." He now plans to sell the vehicle, although judging by recent pictures, it may need a bit of a tune-up first.