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  • Writer's pictureJeff Wilhite

Fundraiser Find Like “Antiques Roadshow” Treasure

This story is AWESOME!!!!!!! OK, did you ever wonder if you would have an “Antiques Roadshow” moment where something awesome would be found and sold?

Well, we did.

In the late 60s and early 70s, Goodyear and NASA partnered. The Goodyear “XLT” (Experimental Lunar Tire) designed by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company was the result for the Apolo 14 Moon Mission from January 31st to February 9th, 1971.

The tires were mounted on NASA’s “MET” (Modular Equipment Transporter? The MET was a two-wheeled, hand pulled vehicle that was used as an equipment hauling device for Astronaut Commander Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Command Module Pilot Stuart A. Roosa, and Lunar Module Pilot Edgar D. Mitchell.

How does that help FP?

I had one of those tires. Nope, this one did not go to the moon and back but it was one of the limited supply that was manufactured by Goodyear for the program.

It has lived in the storage cabinet under my work bench in my basement for 4, maybe 5 years now.

My former next-door neighbor worked for Goodyear. He traveled globally to open and close Goodyear Plants. He passed away and his wife was going to an assisted living facility. They were selling the house and I was helping them with some of the efforts.

They had created a pile of stuff no one in their family wanted. On top of the pile was this tire, complete with the grease markings still on it from the manufacturing process, a photo, and a January 31, 1996, copy of the Goodyear Akron Daily Digest article talking about the XLTs and the 25th Anniversary of the mission and the tires.

If no one wanted the items in the pile, they were headed for the landfill! Not knowing one thing about XLTs, METs, almost nothing about Apollo 14’s mission, I just could not let it go to the landfill.

I took it home and put it away under my work bench.

As we were seeking auction items for Keys to a Brighter Future , I was going through stuff to see if any ideas came to mind or stuff that could be an auction item(s). I wanted to find something unique to us and that would stand out.

The tire came to mind. I pulled it out and fired up the google machine. BANG! We had something. I found that one of these tires was recently auctioned for $3,000! Who knew?

Well, our “Antiques Roadshow” moment arrived. I sold it for $3,000 before we even posted it. I called a local NASA Collector, before I could finish telling him what I had he bought it for his NASA Collection, which next to the Smithsonian, his is very impressive. He has restored several NASA rockets for the Smithsonian and Wright Patterson Air Force Base, The United States Navy’s Aircraft Carrier Independence, and others.

So now, the tire will reside in an official NASA display, and we saved a little tiny space in the landfill.

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