Irving Gordon, a retired school teacher in New York state, has become famous for an automotive feat rivaled by few. Gordon almost has a 3 million mile car, a Volvo P1800 coupe, which he has fastidiously maintained since buying the car in 1966.
The 3 million mile car has only 34,000 miles left
Irving Gordon is a rarity, being one of the few people to drive a car more than one million miles. He surpassed two million about a decade ago, according to the Daily Mail, and is currently only 34,000 miles away from the 3 million mile mark.
The nearly 3 million mile car Gordon has driven since 1966 is a Volvo P1800S, a sports coupe that Volvo produced in the 1960s. Some might remember it for being Roger Moore’s car in “The Saint” television series before trading it in for a Lotus Espirit when he assumed the role of James Bond.
Gordon bought it for $4,150, which, adjusted for inflation, would be $29,436.18, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator. The modern equivalent, the C70, starts at $40,450, according to Volvo.
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What Gordon and all other million-mile drivers have in common is a near-religious commitment to regular maintenance.
According to Wired, he puts mostly highway miles on his car, averaging about 5,500 miles per month, changing the oil every 3,500 miles or so. Gordon and his P1800 were featured on an episode of the PBS NOVA series, hosted by astrophysicist Neil De Grasse Tyson and, according to the transcript, told Tyson he replaced the oil pump at 2 million miles because it seemed the thing to do. Around the 2 million-mile mark, he was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as having put the most miles on a passenger vehicle, a record he has held since 2002.
Naturally, a few things have been replaced. The engine has been rebuilt twice and the clutch has been replaced at least three times according to PBS. The trunk is stocked with spare parts at all times. The car proved itself a tough cookie early on, as nothing had required replacing as of 250,000 miles, according to Wired. He regularly informed Volvo of mileage milestones and as a way of thanks, the company gave him a 780 coupe as a gift, a very rare car. He sold it after it hit 450,000 miles.
Gordon gave some tips in an interview with Castrol motor oil, which are all fairly basic. For one, he says to regularly change the oil and filter. He also stresses to buy gasoline from high-volume stations, as the gas won’t have enough time to build up condensation and other contaminants. He also recommends regularly washing a car with mild soap and waxing at least twice a year to protect against rust. Factory parts are better than independently made parts and owners should follow factory-recommended maintenance schedules.
Gordon also recommends buying a car that a person likes, because they’ll be that much more apt to want to take care of it. Sir Roger Moore, according to MotorTrend, adored the P1800, having bought one for personal use outside “The Saint” and has been a Volvo man ever since. Gordon fully believes the car will outlive him.