NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Man with 2.8M miles on Volvo shares car longevity secrets

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Man with 2.8M miles on Volvo shares car longevity secrets

Steven Cole Smith / Orlando Sentinel

While many of us struggle to nurse our aging cars along for a few more miles, Irv Gordon is working just as hard to get a few more miles from his 1966 Volvo -- at least 200,000 more.

That would make it a nice round 3 million -- far more than the odometer can read on his cherry-red Volvo P1800. But Gordon, his local mechanic and Volvo have maintained meticulous records that suggest Gordon is the world-record driver. No one has managed to squeeze more miles from a consumer vehicle, and he's still going strong.

Gordon, a 70-year-old former schoolteacher, retired from his job in Long Island, N.Y., more than a decade ago, and being a widower, has few ties to New York. So he has spent much of his time on the road.

"Got just over 2.8 million miles," he said in a recent interview. "We've slowed down a little -- rather than over 100,000 miles a year, we're averaging about 80,000."

He just might be heading south again soon. After all, he's pledged to hit 3 million miles by his 73rd birthday, and one destination is about as good as the other. It will likely be when the weather turns cooler, though -- Gordon says the Volvo has "460 air conditioning -- four windows down, 60 miles an hour!"

If this is the first you've heard of Irv Gordon, two questions come to mind. The first, why?

Because Gordon fell in love with the Volvo and he bought it new for $4,150, almost his annual salary. "I never set out to drive millions of miles," he said, "but I loved the car -- I still do -- and I love driving it. Why would I want to get rid of it?"

Which brings us to question two: How?

"There's no secret formula for getting this many miles from a car," Gordon said. As you would expect, much of it is common sense. "Read the owner's manual, and do what it says. It's written by people who know what they are talking about."

He has never missed an oil or fluid change, a tire rotation, a lubrication or anything else specified in the manual. When he stops for gasoline, he checks fluid levels, tire pressures -- all the stuff service stations used to check for you, when service stations actually offered, you know, service.

Gordon doesn't use synthetic motor oil, preferring petroleum-based products.

"Countless dinosaurs gave their lives millions of years ago to make petroleum oil," he told me in 2003, "and I salute them. Plus, obviously, it seems to work." Another reason: Gordon bought 20 cases of oil from a service station that was going out of business. And he still has several cases left.

His Volvo is beyond basic. No air conditioning, no power steering, no power brakes, wind-up windows, a manual transmission and a startlingly simple engine with few moving parts. There isn't much to break, and what there is, can be fixed easily.

Not true with new cars. Yes, there are a lot of benefits to modern engineering -- spark plugs that can easily go 100,000 miles, for instance, while Gordon needs to carry a spare box of just-in-case plugs in his glove compartment -- but the complexity of modern vehicles can also be their downfall.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100904/AUTO03/9040378/1148/auto01/Man-with-2.8M-miles-on-Volvo-shares-car-longevity-secrets#ixzz0ylXPZsBI

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<--- Jealous.

Why? He's likely paid for the car 20 times over in repairs... which is fine, as it still more efficient than suffering all the depreciation of a new car bought every few years.

Any car... even your Camaro... will go 2.8 million miles if you keep fixing it. I'd love to see a listing of the mechanical records, though.

The P1800 is a cool Volvo, though. The only cool Volvo, IMHO.

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Why? He's likely paid for the car 20 times over in repairs... which is fine, as it still more efficient than suffering all the depreciation of a new car bought every few years.

Any car... even your Camaro... will go 2.8 million miles if you keep fixing it. I'd love to see a listing of the mechanical records, though.

The P1800 is a cool Volvo, though. The only cool Volvo, IMHO.

It is an impressive feat...but I couldn't imagine driving the same car daily for 46 years...would get awfully dull after a while, I would think. Driving the same vehicle for 10 years is long enough..

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