Irv Gordon has driven his 1966 Volvo P1800 2,000,000 miles.
April 5, 2002 12:35 PM   Subscribe

Irv Gordon has driven his 1966 Volvo P1800 2,000,000 miles. My current car has gone about 140,000 miles and is just now "broken in". Our last one had was retired at 266,000 miles. How many miles do you expect to put on your vehicle before you get a new one?
posted by onhazier (50 comments total)
Oh, Irv hit the 2M mark yesterday. I saw it on the news and will post a link if I find it.
posted by onhazier at 12:38 PM on April 5, 2002

got 228,000 on the pontiac and no signs of slowing....thats pretty much to the moon.
posted by clavdivs at 12:40 PM on April 5, 2002

Just sold my 1989 Toyota 4-Runner that had 215,000 on it. Massachusetts refused inspection for rust by the buy from Vermont I sold it to got it passed. I'll keep track of how far it goes.
posted by dhacker at 12:41 PM on April 5, 2002

Put 22,000 on the last car. Dont think Ill hold on to the new one that long. I need variety.
posted by uftheory at 12:42 PM on April 5, 2002

195 K on my Camry before the transmission fell out late at night on a rural highway. Amazingly, I was right next to a tow truck when it happened. And the guy refused to let me pay him for the tow.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:45 PM on April 5, 2002

my '73 vw body has 204370 miles on it. the engine is a youngster though. only 6000 miles. damn. irv does 1000 miles a week sometimes. thats at least half a year for me...
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 12:50 PM on April 5, 2002

Wow, I can't imagine driving 2,000,000 miles in a p1800. Those are rocket ships, but look like you'd get stuck in one. I've got a '67 122 Amazon myself. Odometer broken, so I might be at 1,999,999!
posted by black8 at 12:52 PM on April 5, 2002

I've since upgraded, but I once owned a 1986 Honda CRX with 345,000 miles. I bought it from a scuba enthusiast in Indiana who drove it to Florida nearly every weekend. The radio, rear defrost, and horn didn't work, but the engine still ran great when I sold it for $75.

I just hope my new Elantra makes it to 100,000.
posted by ttrendel at 12:53 PM on April 5, 2002

The Hartford Courant had a story on this a few weeks ago, with a great tidbit: Volvo gave him, free, a new 780 coupe sometime in the late '80s or early '90s -- a pretty nice car, that he still has -- in honor of his driving that car so many miles, etc. He drives it sometimes, but still prefers the older one, driving it far more. Dang. Now there's commitment, eh?
posted by mattpfeff at 12:57 PM on April 5, 2002

P1800s are just the coolest cars ever. Only car i've ever lusted after.
posted by th3ph17 at 12:57 PM on April 5, 2002

I bought my first car, a 1995 Chevy Lumina almost a year ago at 81,000. Right now I'm about to hit 88,000... almost nothing compared to this guy. I probably won't go far with this car though, it gives me way too many problems. I'll never buy another American car.
posted by tomorama at 12:57 PM on April 5, 2002

The Car.
posted by perplexed at 12:58 PM on April 5, 2002

I'm trying to sell a volkswagon jetta in the new york region with 12,000 miles on it... (living in the city precludes the need for a car; unlike living in Austin)
posted by goneill at 12:58 PM on April 5, 2002

Wow, I just flipped to 15,000 since I got my Civic 9 months ago...
posted by SpecialK at 1:18 PM on April 5, 2002

Visualize the interior of a car with 2 million miles on the odometer...

meanwhile, I go 20,000 miles between oil changes...
posted by BentPenguin at 1:18 PM on April 5, 2002

He must take very good care of that car. Did you see the pictures in the link perplexed posted? That thing looks almost brand new.

BTW, my 94 Nissan has 125k miles with the original clutch and exhaust.
posted by internal at 1:25 PM on April 5, 2002

I suspect venue is a major factor. I'd say common Canadian wisdom is a car is good for about 200,000km (125k miles) in a life time.

Lots of snow plus salt to melt road ice. Horay.
posted by Leonard at 1:27 PM on April 5, 2002

Visualize the interior of a car with 2 million miles on the odometer...

meanwhile, I go 20,000 miles between oil changes...
posted by BentPenguin at 1:29 PM on April 5, 2002

What's so cool about p1800s that they have a cult following? I recall hearing Colin Powell waxing poetic about these cars (in simpler times.)
posted by BentPenguin at 1:35 PM on April 5, 2002

My buddy has a Mazda Protoge (1991) with about 300k on it. He bought it new, didn't need a new clutch until 200k.
posted by adampsyche at 1:54 PM on April 5, 2002

What's so cool about p1800s

Well, they're just very unique looking cars. (Did they come in any color besides orange?) I always lusted after the 18OOES station wagons in the '70's. They drove like tanks, though.

Although we've held on to cars for 10 years or more, we never manage to rack up that many miles. Need to get out more, I guess. Our '92 Accord only had 70k on it when we sold it.
posted by groundhog at 1:58 PM on April 5, 2002

I got rid of a Ford Ranger last year (1989 model) that had 340,000 miles on it.
Yes, you heard that right. A Ford. The best thing about that truck was I never replaced a thing except regular maintenence stuff. (batteries, belts, tires, and hoses.) I never even replaced the timing belt.
Sniff. I miss that truck. I bought a new car, although my wife drives it, and I took her old car, a 1991 Corolla with 86,000 on it. Drives like new.
posted by bradth27 at 2:09 PM on April 5, 2002

(*sigh*) My 81 Honda Civic 1500DX 5-speed would have gone a million miles if it weren't for that Tastycake delivery truck that took it off the road at 154k. It has been 10 years since and it still brings a tear to my eye.
posted by n9 at 2:15 PM on April 5, 2002

Had my current car 6 months. It's a 1992 K-Reg Vauxhall Corsa 1.5TD. It'd done 71K when i bout it.. it's done 83K now :)

That's largely due to me working nearly 50 miles away from where I live, so I clock up nearly 500 miles a week.

I used to have a 1989 G-reg Vauxhall Cavalier that had done 236,000 when I bought it, but it was an ex company car that (thankfully) had had a new engine and gearbox fitted at about 220,000.

I also had a Vauxhall Nova... that had apparently done 60K when i bought it, 40K when i sold it :D. No naughtiness tho, just that the speedo had a habit of breaking, and it went through 2 in the time I had it.
posted by robzster1977 at 2:18 PM on April 5, 2002

My '86 Samurai is pushing 180,000 miles, and I'm not sure what it's going to take to convince me to part with it. I once calculated that I could replace every single piece of running gear, from engine to axles, for less than it would cost to replace the vehicle itself. It would take a lot of damage to ruin it so badly that it couldn't be repaired; it survived a head-on collision with a cow last summer, and excepting body damage the only thing that broke was the windshield-wiper fluid bottle. The CD player didn't even skip.

I haven't put many miles on it in the last few years; I stopped driving to work when I moved to Seattle, so it only comes out of the garage for occasional errands and weekend adventure-trips.

posted by Mars Saxman at 2:31 PM on April 5, 2002

I had a Pontiac Firebird with about 5000 miles from which the little fool hubcaps would fly off at odd intervals. I bet I bought 20 sets of those things and used every one. I loaned the car to a hoodlum friend, which he used (despite the shitty little V6) to drag race with his idiot buddies, during which he ramped some train tracks and threw a rod. Gave it back to me with one of those "Hey, your car is making a strange sound...?" excuses, like I wouldn't find out what happened. I spent two grand (1986 dollars) putting a brand new engine in it, and it never drove worth a shit again. 0-60 in, oh, about ten minutes or so, about ten hours or so if I had the defroster on (which, I should add, worked like a mutha, to give credit where it is due). I tried to sell it, but no one would buy it after the first drive around the block. I ended up stripping it for takeaways (stereo, bucket seats, spare, a few other incidentals) and abandoning it outside a junkyard - drove up (at about walking speed) on a nice, sunny Sunday afternoon, parked it in front of the gate, tossed the keys in the floor, next to the wooden box I'd sat on on the drive over, slammed the door and never looked back, about 8000 miles on the dial. It was all I could do to keep from tossing in a couple packs of lit matches and a ziplock bag of kerosene.

American cars? Pfui.
posted by UncleFes at 2:39 PM on April 5, 2002

My current Volvo 850, however, has about 85000 miles on it, runs like a top, and is still under warrantee for another year or so, maybe two if I keep the miles down. They're boxy, but they're good!

I'm thinking about mounting a turret on the top and invading Cape Girardeau.
posted by UncleFes at 2:46 PM on April 5, 2002

BentPenguin, the p1800 was a great design for one--design by Carmen Ghia--was built as a true sports touring car, and has all the usual solid Volvo things like a solid body.

i have a 2-door 240DL, brought over from sweden by its original owner. I Bought it with 200,000 miles, on it, have put another 15k on in the last 10 months...and I'm hoping i can afford to get some things fixed before it dies. Great car, i just haven't been able to keep it maintained. I am a car killer i'm afraid....and so i don't think i'll ever actually own a P1800, i'd kill it and never forgive myself.
posted by th3ph17 at 3:17 PM on April 5, 2002

I was driving 350 miles a week commuting. Nothing compared to Irv of course, but I put about 25K miles on it in a year. Now that I live 0.9 miles from work I probably won't even put 5,000 on it.

Volvo should use this to advertise the reliability of their cars. Kind of like Subway has done with Jared.
posted by jaden at 3:55 PM on April 5, 2002

158K on the Honda. It still runs exactly like it did ten years ago.

Hooray for easy to maintain eight valve engines!

I've decided to just keep driving it until it bursts into flame.
posted by mark13 at 5:01 PM on April 5, 2002

210 000km on a '91 Nissan NX 1600. It's been hammered up logging roads for backpacking trips, suffered winter for the past decade, etc.

It has been essentially repair-free. Certainly it would be entirely repair-free if I didn't mistreat it so!

I had the back brakes replaced (discs and hydraulics) because I fubared them (stupid, stupid: turns out that the caliper needs a different adjustment than the front brakes, to reseat it. They ended up frozen.)

I've replaced the shocks once. Consequence of going off-roading.

Oh, and I replaced the fuel pump this winter. Our gas comes through a pipeline that's shared with crude oil, so it's just effing loaded with sulfer and shite. Disgusting crud. Little wonder the poor thing got wrecked.

So, that's all of about $2k in repairs over ten years. Not bad, not bad at all.

I expect it to make 300k km without any problem. Quite possibly 400k if I start treating it nice.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:11 PM on April 5, 2002

There's definitely a point in every car's life where the owner must decide b/w repairing it (overhaul) or trashing it. My first car was the '86 Bronco II (eddie bauer) that my dad bought in 1986, brand new. It was '95 when i got it. Had about 165k on it if i remember right, but my sister had it before me and trashed the shit out of it. Unfortunately, my pops decided it wasn't worth rebuilding and gave it to a local charity. I still wax nostalgic when i see a boxy bastard similar to it. FWIW i now drive the uber-manly Saturn coupe, which is going on 65K and running like the day I bought it. Say what you will, they build an efficient car.
posted by Ufez Jones at 5:46 PM on April 5, 2002

I have a Klein Quantum. It's about the best Alu road bike there is, and the frame should last for several decades. Unless a car with more miles on it says otherwise.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:54 PM on April 5, 2002

I bought a 1995 Ford Ranger pickup brand new (had to order it). It had 16 miles on it when I picked it up from the dealership. This was my first new vehicle.

I put more than 230,000 miles on it in the 6 1/2 years I owned it. During that time, the only things that went wrong with it were the starter (replaced once) and some little relay that tied into the electrical system (when it went bad, the whole truck would die at odd times, like at 65 mph on the tollway).

When I bought it, it went from 0-60 in 8.5 seconds. Get this, when I got rid of it, only 7.5.

I miss that truck. I traded it in last year for a 1996 mitsubishi Eclipse. In the first 3 months of owning that thing, the turbo, clutch, alternator and battery all went to shit.

Drive American or German, and use Valvoline. Great lessons in life.

Anyone want to buy a mitsubishi eclipse?
posted by schlaager at 8:56 PM on April 5, 2002

I just sold my 88 honda prelude which had 648,000 miles. This things drive forever. and I bought a honda again.
posted by pyr at 9:19 PM on April 5, 2002

Cool that people take care of older cars instead of constantly buying new ones but regarding the driving 1000 miles a week, I wonder if anyone here noticed this thread...
posted by mdn at 9:41 PM on April 5, 2002

We believe in recycling in a big way, thus we keep older cars around and running for what seems like forever. I currently drive a '93 Chevy S-10 pickup that has 134,564 miles on it, our '89 Ford Ranger has 128K on it, our daughter's '89 VW Fox has 120K miles and our '89 Jaguar XJS convertible, since it spends most of its time garaged, only has about 90K on it. The family car of record was the '77 VW Rabbit that had over 600K on it and probably would have run forever if the windshield hadn't leaked onto the fusebox, eventually killing most of its electrical system.
posted by Lynsey at 9:59 PM on April 5, 2002

You people,drive a lot more than me. We have 42,000 going on a 95 Grand Am. I figure it will be 2020 before I hit a hundred thou.
posted by thirteen at 12:25 AM on April 6, 2002

Actually I am pretty interested in that new Civic hybrid. If I can get 50 miles to the gallon, I won't visit a gas station for months at a time.
posted by thirteen at 12:29 AM on April 6, 2002

'92 Chevy Astro, 125k. I love my old van, though the family constantly urges me to get rid of. Except for my 8 year old, who doesn't remember Dad driving anything else.

I've replaced the transmission and the fuel injection since it went over 100k, but other than that, it's been mostly batteries and tires. Doesn't look like much, but the point is that the old girl is paid for!

Stack that up against another $500/month payment, and she's hard to let go.
posted by norm29 at 7:32 AM on April 6, 2002

Guess I should mention the Chevette we had before the Nissan. Hammered the *shit* out of that poor little car -- after all, it was only a Chevette, so who cared if it got damaged?!

Put 200 000 km on it, too, and then sold it for nearly $1k. Other than burning the brake pads down to the rivets (oops! And accomplished that on a terribly steep logging road, too. Very, very exciting descent, that. Left permanent pucker marks on the seat...) and an oil drip problem that was resolved by driving down a few hundred kilometers of dusty clay road, it was also repair-free.

I've taken up dual-sport motorcycles, so hopefully I can purchase a nice vehicle in the future and not beat it to hell exploring the backcountry...
posted by five fresh fish at 8:03 AM on April 6, 2002

How long do brake pads last, btw?

I've had my car since new, just over two years ago. It has 36,000 miles on it now, and even though I take it in every 10k miles, they still haven't changed the brake pads.

My friends seem to get their brake pads changed every 10k.. so perhaps I'm just a light braker?
posted by wackybrit at 1:14 AM on April 7, 2002

They'd wear out faster if you quit running red lights. :-)

Why are you taking your car in every 10k miles? There's no maintenance I can think of that would require a garage at all.

Your oil changes should be happening about every 4000 miles. You should be changing your oil filter with the oil change.

At your mileage, I expect you should have replaced the air filter, checked your plugs, rotated the tires a couple of times, and checked (and probably replaced) the brake pads. All of these are dead-simple to do on your own.

Your owners' manual should have a service table. Check it out.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:38 AM on April 7, 2002

Why are you taking your car in every 10k miles? There's no maintenance I can think of that would require a garage at all.

I take it in every 10k miles because my 3 year warranty is invalid if I don't. They do all of the things I can't do.. give it a service, change the oil, etc..

So.. my oil is changed every 10k miles, and the service manual says that's right. Air filter is changed every time too. They charge me about $200 for each service.

I do this simply because I drive the car hard.. it's only 1200cc (1.2 liter) but it can hold 90, and it means if I want to sell my car in a year or two, I can get more money for it, because it has a full 'service history'.
posted by wackybrit at 10:51 AM on April 7, 2002

it can hold 90

!! That's not a car, that's a matatu.
posted by rodii at 11:24 AM on April 7, 2002

Wow. The 10k mile oil change is a hella long time. My car's also a 1.2, only a decade old, and the service manual says every 6k km, which is bugger-all miles. Sounds like your shop is screwing you to the wall, though; $200/service is outrageous.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:06 PM on April 7, 2002

five: Well, it's the official guys (Vauxhall - UK arm of General Motors) and the only way I can keep my warranty fully intact.

The engine is one of those 'ECOTEC' jobbies, which is why the oil isn't a big deal. I've looked at the oil myself after 9k miles and it almost looks the same as it did going in. One of the benefits of having a new car I guess..

If I had to change oil every 6k km, I wouldn't go out as much. I can run up 1000km just on a single trip to London.. and sometimes I go each week.

it can hold 90

!! That's not a car, that's a matatu.

Trust me. In the UK, speed camera and traffic jam capital of the world, 90 is all you need. Even then, you end up getting stuck behind some moron doing 65. Wouldn't mind a bit more acceleration tho :-(

And about the $200.. well, the UK is also the rip-off capital of the world ;-) Since my three years are almost up, I'll get someone local to service it in future.
posted by wackybrit at 6:57 PM on April 7, 2002

er, "it can hold 90," just like a matatu holds about as many people as you can get to hold onto it for dear life... 'twas a joke.

Very cool about the oil. Any idea what the actual technology is that keeps it clean? Must have hella rings on the pistons.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:50 PM on April 7, 2002

I just found out that the newer model of my car only requires an oil change every 18,750 miles. The older non-ECOTEC models require a change every 5000 miles. ECOTEC is a fairly new engine technology primarily used by General Motors.

According to some pages I read, they've extended the oil life by implementing some sort of 'oil control' and 'life monitoring system'. Even when I went 12k between services once, my oil light never came on.

Apparently it has a 'Reduced piston top ring band (only 3 mm) significantly decreases emissions' whatever that means.. but that relates to your question.

All that said, I'm rather impressed with the ECOTEC. Fuel economy isn't amazing (about 30mpg - US, 35mpg - UK) but it's fast for its small size, and extremely reliable.. at least, my car hasn't broken down once in the last 36k miles.

BTW, I get the joke now, I'm slow ;-)
posted by wackybrit at 8:43 PM on April 7, 2002

That's amazing. I went crawling for info, but couldn't find any concrete info. Caught the reduced top ring.

It must be better at stopping blow-by. It's the blow-by that mostly contanimates the oil.

Speaking of which, letting your car idle to "warm up" is among the worse things you can do to it. When cold, combustion is incomplete and loaded with acids; coupled with the rings being less tight cold, there's more blow-by getting into your oil, making it more acidic, etc.

I think it's phenomenal that these engines are heading upwards of 20k between changes.

Also looks like you're getting great mileage. Tiny car, of course. It'd be a speedbump if it ever met up with the gawdawful behemoth SUVs we've got going on in N.A.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:28 PM on April 7, 2002

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