The Car That's Driven 2.8 Million Miles

from the feeling-like-a-slacker-yet? dept

These days, any time you hear of a car that’s been driven over 200,000 miles, it’s pretty impressive. But, apparently for a guy named Irv Gordon, that was just what it took to break in his 1966 Volvo P1800. Shocklee points us to the astounding story of Gordon and the 2.8 million miles he’s put on the beloved car, which he bought new all the way back in 1966. He’s hoping to get it up to 3 million in about 3 years. For anyone who believe “they don’t make ’em, like they used to,” apparently here’s a datapoint. The guy drives 125-mile commute daily, but also apparently just loves driving and takes the car all over the place.

As for repairs and maintenance, obviously he takes pretty good care of the car, but doesn’t seem to do anything special, beyond following the factory (not dealer) manual. He began to realize the car was pretty damn reliable when he surpassed 250,000 miles without needing a single repair beyond basic maintenance. And, yes, the engine has been rebuilt twice, but he admits that the first time it shouldn’t have been. Volvo, of course, is well aware of Gordon and even gave him a free car years back when he hit 1 million miles. But he saw no reason to stop driving the original one. And, if you’re wondering, yes, Gordon is in the Guinness Book of World Records. But he got there way back in 1998 when he only had 1.69 million miles on the car. Suddenly, “just” having 200,000 miles on a car doesn’t seem so special.

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Companies: volvo

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Comments on “The Car That's Driven 2.8 Million Miles”

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EXrider says:

Re: Re: Feul effeciency

It probably does not matter. The delta between his efficiency and that of a new car would be erased by the carbon debt of manufacturing a new car.

You know, it is just as bad for the environment to make them as it is to drive them…

Exactly! I wish more crazed “going green” people (and the EPA) would realize this; and it also extends to other outdoor power equipment and appliances as well.

Overcast (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Ok, but how fuel-efficient is a 1966 car? 😛

Consider all of the extra ‘energy’ that wasn’t needed because he’s driving the same car. Over that period of time, the average person might have went through 5 cars – let’s say.

That would have a cost in the energy to get the materials for 5 cars, transport 5 cars, etc, etc.

So in the end, I bet he’s consumed less resources by keeping a single car than most.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

” I bet he’s consumed less resources by keeping a single car than most.”

The energy cost of any manufactured good is actually a alittle less than half the cost of the product. Your 50,000 dollar car costs about 20,00 dollars in energy to produce. With 4-7 levels of production for each part, the energy used in shipping between each level of production, the personal energy use of the employees which is tacked onto the cost, the heating and cooling of the factories and offices, it all adds up. It is scary to think we spend half our lives paying for the energy used to produce the stuff we by.

roadrunner2525 (profile) says:

Re: Re: 5 cars

5 cars?? I’ve been driving since 1962 and average about 40K a year. For my 2 M miles, as best I remember, we have gone through 25 cars. Highest mileage cars are a 1960 Ford (160K), 1990 Caddy (155000 and still going). 1988 Olds 88 (152K) and a 2005 Dodge Stratus (136K and still going). About 1/2 the cars went over 100K, so you can see I get car fever frequently.

I don’t average 55 on the hwy either :’) I love to drive to new places and absolutely despise retracing my trips.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

a 66 volvo about 40mpg it was a 1.8L inline 4…..only american car companies think 25mpg is special. research what cars in europe and japan get for mpg. Amazing what cars can do when contries actually care about fuel economy and not just say they do. Japan and europe love the inline 3 turbo diesel and on average they get between 60-80mpg. We hate 3cyl engines and most diesels

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: I'm a slacker

I was thinking the same thing; there HAS to be an environmental factor to this. Here in the midwest, they tend to treat a snowy road the way oprah treats a bad cut of steak: they salt the shit out of it.

You could take care of it like a Jeff Gordon pit crew boss and the salt would still shred your wheel wells within 20 years max….

w8 says:

Re: Re:

so i have a 1984 mustang with 356,781 miles 5.0l gt hatchback.cluch was replaced about 138,000 miles to a kevlar racing cluch.
my father has a 1999 f-250 with 311,000 miles 7.2l diesel those are all hauling miles.
my mother has a 2001 dodge durango 4.7l with 263,142 miles.
about 8 times a year is driven through the rocky mountain range.

Non Sequitur (profile) says:

>”If he *averaged* 55 miles an hour, then he’s wasted nearly SIX YEARS of his waking life in a car.”

Did you read the article? I don’t think he has “wasted” anything:

“Within the first 30 seconds of our conversation, we realised that Gordon was one of those folks who truly loves his time spent behind the wheel. Driving is more than a way of getting from A to B. It’s a hobby, it’s how he relaxes. If we’d asked him to join us for dinner, we bet he would’ve taken us up on the offer simply because it would give him an excuse to drive a couple of hundred miles.”

Joseph Durnal (user link) says:

I better get 250k

I better get 250,000 miles out of my 2010 Toyota Corolla, if I get more, thats great! It is one year old now with 20,000 miles. I got 10 solid years and 213,000 miles out of my 1999 Dodge Avenger. In 2005, I bought my wife a van, that one needs to last 10 years too. So far, it has been perfectly reliable, with about 70,000 miles on it. I figure that anything you spend more than $10,000 on, should last at least 10 years.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have not seen one for several years, but this gentleman has been used in the past for Volvo ads.

Of course, it helps immensely that his car is not chock full of all the electronic doo-dads contained in present day cars. Could you even begin to imagine trying to find a circuit board if they had been in use back in 1966?

His experience seems to give meaning to the phrase that more often than not “less is more”.

RadialSkid says:

Re: Re:

“Of course, it helps immensely that his car is not chock full of all the electronic doo-dads contained in present day cars.”

That’s exactly right…one of the biggest killers of modern vehicles is the the fussy electronic system every one of them seems to have now. The German manufacturers have become especially fond of them as of late, and that’s probably why the quality of German cars has been in a freefall for about 10 years now. I honestly feel sorry for anyone saddled with a recent BMW.

Another thing about older cars is they generally used cast iron engine blocks, as opposed to the aluminum engines in modern cars. While the latter is great for getting the car’s weight down, a softer metal just isn’t going to last in the long term under the stresses engines go through.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I response to your comment to my comment, I remember there was a time when I could change spark plugs, adjust the timing, change the oil, fix the brakes, etc…all the while sitting on the fender and reaching into the engine area.

Then again, I also remember when I used to fill up my 69 Vette with premium at $.30/gal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Big Toys

I have a 737 that I’ve racked up nearly seven million miles on. It’s named the “Trololo-slask” and is a very efficient airplane. They really don’t build them like they used to! The only problem I’ve run into is when I pilot it through snowflakes. It sometimes stalls and sputters when it goes through snowflakes. It’s definitely a better ride than my Cessna, which is aptly named “The Mike Masnick”. The smaller planes are very susceptible to microbursts and wind shear.

angry dude says:

big deal

On a twice rebuilt Volvo engine ?

I just checked the mileage on my 99 Accord


Drives like new with original engine and tranny
and it takes regular gas

Tranny will easily go over 1 mil (highway driving)
engine can be replaced at some point with the used one bought on Ebay for 600$

I have 2 other cars but Accord is the most reliable of all

2005 Passat with 90K is a piece of shit compared to 99 Accord

Not even talking about american cars

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: big deal

That is just not true, though the later into the 70s you go generally the worse it gets.

I could go on. I think the 1973-74 oil crisis (and tougher emissions laws) is when it really hit the fan for US cars. The dark ages were really 1973 to… um… 1986? That’s when the Taurus was introduced.

Those dark ages are perhaps (only perhaps mind you, I welcome any other submissions) epitomized by the Musting II, introduced, not coincidentally, in 1974.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 big deal

Agreed that the american auto dark ages did end until sometime in the 80s. But I really have to disagree about the early 70s being ok. Some 1970 models might be okay but anything after that not so much. Even before the oil crisis cars we being detuned to help reduce smog. It was not until sometime in the 80s when fuel injection got good enough that we started getting good cars again. Could not agree more about the Mustang II.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 big deal

The other thing is, were any other cars really that great in the 70s? I know there were several economical, reliable and efficient cars coming from Japan, but most of them weren’t all that *interesting*. And when I think of great European cars from the 70s, I’m pretty much coming up blank. BMW maybe? I don’t think Jaguar was doing much. Ferrari was in a bit of a slump, between the magnificent cars of the 60s and upcoming cars of the 80s like the Testarossa and F40. Basically that whole 10-15 year stretch was generally a bad one for cars, period. Porsche may have been the bright spot, as I don’t think the 911 ever really faded.

I know, totally off topic but it’s basically my favorite subject. 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 big deal

Good point. Most of my 70s car knowledge is of american cars. But I cannot really think of a non-american car that was any better. My dad had a datsun in the 70s that was pretty reliable but not very interesting to be sure. Emissions requirements ruined cars until we figured out how to make them run cleaner.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: big deal

VWs in general are POS. I thought they got better after 04 though.

My wifes 03 Jetta was falling apart at 60k. Got rid of it ASAP. They try so hard to make the cabin nice on initial quality that everything else in the car gets the cheap crap. If it is supposed to be made of metal. It’s now made of cheap plastic. Engine parts and other well wearing components, plastic. The tail lights have stamped sheet metal contacts instead of plugs, and don’t even get me started on changing the oil/plugs. Mind you, I am very mechanically inclined but I know crap when I see it.

minijedimaster (profile) says:

Re: big deal

I have an ’07 Passat with about 70k miles and it’s running great so far. Only minor issue I have is that it eats oil more than most engines do. Having a turbo I’d expect that though, especially with the way I drive.

I do agree doing regular standard maintenance is ridiculously hard. I brought it in to have break pads and tires put on and decided to have the air filter replaced too. Mechanic said everything went fine except that the air filter took the longest to do, LOL. VW may not be there yet for quality/reliability, but mark my words. Give them about 4-5 years and they’ll be the car to beat.

angry dude says:

Re: Re: big deal

“VW may not be there yet for quality/reliability, but mark my words. Give them about 4-5 years and they’ll be the car to beat.”

Hah ??

They were there, many years ago, but blew it

Still, this piece of shit is very safe to drive (when it drives)
On collision between Accord and Passat I want to be inside Passat for sure

Denial says:

I think he’s an incredible guy, like his story. He must really love his car, and the car loves him.:))
In his after every 10-20 thousand miles I need to change something because my shitbox doesn’t want to go further. It is necessary to change the wheels, the oil, then buy new mats for the car with this review anyway, I have no idea how he treats his car, that he’s been serving it for so long.

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