Hooniverse Weekend Edition: Irv Gordon's 1966 Volvo P1800's Odometer Trips 2.8 Million Miles

This is the story of Irv Gordon, a retired science teacher from East Patchogue (Long Island), New York. Over the last 44 years, he and his 1966 Volvo P1800 have covered an incredible 2.8 million miles, giving new meaning to the term “loving one’s car.” Read more after the jump….

Irv Gordon’s P1800 made The Guinness Book of World Records in 1998 for most miles driven by a single owner in a non-commercial vehicle. At that point, his odometer read a paltry 1.69 million miles. In 2002, he drove the car’s two-millionth mile down to Times Square to national and international media attention. The engine has been apart only twice, at 680,000 and at 2,690,000 miles. Gordon credits its longevity to a strict but sensible maintenance program. He changes the oil every 3,000-3,500 miles and changes the transmission fluid every 25,000 miles, and he replaces the points (remember points?) every 20,000-25,000 miles along with the spark plugs.

To put 2.8 million miles in their proper perspective, Gordon could have driven his P1800 to the moon and back (560,000 miles) five times. Instead, most of its first 35 years were spent in bumper-to-bumper traffic on his daily 125-mile commute on the Long Island Expressway, which Gordon refers to as the world’s longest parking lot. Read more of this incredible story at Automotive Traveler.
Image Credits: Automotive Traveler.

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  1. Hopman Avatar

    I'd like to see a newer car do that!
    I like his maintance ideas. Plus, he probably doesn't abuse the car either.
    I guess this is a tribute to how well good stuff lasts.

    1. dmilligan Avatar

      You can get high longevity with most vehicles if you do the proper maintenance at the proper intervals, and replace worn parts before they fail completely. Most people won't do that though, because they don't want to spend the money on their car unless they absolutely have to. I used to work at a Mercedes-Benz dealership and I'd see both types of owners all of the time, especially the tightwads who leased their cars. I saw Benzes with 60k on the clock and the cars were trash, the engine junk, transmission wonky because the owners spent money on gas and that's it. Then you'd see other Benzes (love that word) with over 300k logged, and they ran and drove like new, and the only main repairs done on the engines were a valve job or two. I've seen the same kind of thing on International Harvester vehicles too.

  2. AlexG55 Avatar

    The word "non-commercial" is probably due to this guy:
    <img src="http://media2.worldcarfans.com/2004/9/medium/5040929.001.Mini2L.jpg"&gt;
    Grigorios Sachinidis works as a taxi driver in Thessaloniki, Greece. This is his 1976 Mercedes 240D, which he bought in Germany in 1981 after it had already covered 136,000 miles. The car is now in the Mercedes factory museum after they gave him a new C200 CDI in exchange for it in 2004. Before then, it had reached 2.86 million miles!
    To be fair, Mr. Sachinidis did have 2 spare engines, and the 3 engines were rotated through the car (he changed the engine 11 times). Also, I don't think Mr. Gordon is giving up his P1800 any time soon, so he'll probably pass the record!

    1. dmilligan Avatar

      Interesting hobby, swapping engines in a W115 in your free time.

  3. CptSevere Avatar

    When I was a cabdriver, the Chevy Caprices that we used routinely reached 500,000 miles. The company was strict about oil changes, but other than that did nothing out of the ordinary. Considering the way us drivers beat the hell out of those poor cars, the fact that they lasted that long is amazing.

  4. Rich Truesdell Avatar
    Rich Truesdell

    As the writer of the article, I've spoken with Irv several times — absolutely great guy — and the plan is clearly to make 3,000,000 miles by the time he turns 73. If past is prologue, I wouldn't bet against him.

    1. Bigev007 Avatar

      Great article. Might want to double check the oil change number though. 2.8 million miles /3000 miles =933, not 90. So the price of a new midsize on oil changes alone. Still all kinds of awesome

  5. Joe Dunlap Avatar
    Joe Dunlap

    This is like the 200 year old axe. Its had the handle replace 4 times and the head 5. But its original, right? right?

  6. K5ING Avatar

    I love this guy! I thought I had a lot of miles on my '01 Golf TDI (bought new, now with 417,000 miles) but this guy puts me to shame.

  7. coupeZ600 Avatar

    What a sweet ride!

  8. Ibn batoota Avatar
    Ibn batoota

    a basic rear w drive should do well, examples MB E-class and most suvs/trucks.

  9. JeffZ Avatar

    No Volvo pushrod goes for 1million let alone 3million. His rate of miles per year dont add up either. This doesn't include driving a car with little to inferior rust protection in NY/NJ.
    Mr. Gordon should be advertising for Milwaukee or DeWalt tools because his drill is getting more action then that car is.

  10. Merlintr Avatar

    Try this in turkei with high price of gas- 1 lt = 3 dollars