We are time keepers. Everything is about time.
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
Those are not my words, but from a very old book about how life should be lived. A speedometer is about time; a time measurement of driving. Irv Gordon’s 1966 Volvo P1800 is about to turn 3,000,000 miles. No other car in the world has ever gone that far and probably no other car ever will. Especially considering how few mechanical repairs he has done to keep her running. In a simple sense his car’s record is a testament to Swedish engineering: using technology to make something better than anyone else.
If Irv’s speedometer could talk, just think of all the roads it could talk about, of all the people Irv has befriended over his 3 million miles, at every gas station, Waffle House, and road side tourist trap he rolled into. All the dust he’s washed off from 48 U.S. states, all the different road salts from nasty winter drives just to be somewhere he promised. I wonder how many sponges he has used to clean her and how many bugs met their demise on her windshield?
She has traveled roads in Europe and Canada. From the super smooth California 405, to the stunningly beautiful US 1 from Cambria to Carmel, and to the moutain climbs like the Eisenhower Tunnel at 11,158 feet above sea level. Irv’s seemingly endless polishing of his Volvo P1800 for auto shows, club shows, VCOA and VSA meets, TV interviews and photo shoots. His religious service shop visits for tune-ups and oil changes at the same Volvo dealership where he bought his car more than 45 years ago. Remember cars from that time were not expected to make it past 100,000 miles, and we used lots of carbon steel without much undercoating, so Irv’s P1800 has had some body work every couple of hundred thousand miles. And to fix the dented sheet metal from where a truck backed into her, hooked her onto his bumper and drove away towing poor Irv in his Volvo.
All the while, both car and Irv tirelessly traveling, most times at the request of someone to be somewhere at an appointed time. And his Smith’s speedo just clicking away those miles and memories.
If you have never seen the inside of an old speedo, it’s kind of cool. A bunch of plastic and metal gears held in by tiny metal rods nestled in a grey metal fixture. All of its gears rotate at different speeds like a very primitive pocket watch. The 1/10 mile numbers turn rather quickly at 60 mph verses the far left one that gets renewed every 100,000. It would be interesting to compare how sun faded the 1/10 is to the 100,000 numbers. I remember when our Volvo 140′s speedo registered 999,999 miles in 1967 I believe. We were amazed the Swedes actually believed this car would travel 1 million miles and included a speedo to track it. Guess they proved us wrong.
In September of 2013, Irv’s Volvo P1800 will turn its historic three millionth mile in Alaska, one of two U.S. states Irv has not yet visited and a fitting backdrop for this historic milestone. Volvo is inviting everyone to join in the journey. Reason #1? It’s a Volvo. Reason #3,000,000 – Irv Gordon. The terrain in between is where you and all Volvo fans come in. No two journeys are the same. No two speedometers are the same. We all have our reasons for believing in Volvo cars.
Now you can share your experiences and discoveries from journeys far away or close to home on a special online map Volvo owners are creating together. Irv’s story is a part of the map, and we need yours too. Enter yours at www.3millionreasons.com.
For more info about Three Million Reasons to Believe and Irv’s journey to 3 million miles, check out the press release below.
So while Irv’s sweet Volvo P1800 is less than 5,000 miles from doing the impossible, perhaps we should have her speedo bronzed, like we did with our children’s first shoes.
Posted in 3 Million Miles, 3 Million Reasons to Believe, Irv Gordon | 2 Comments »
Long Island Man’s Volvo Will Reach Three Million Miles in 2013
Irv Gordon, Record-Breaking Driver of a 1966 Volvo P1800, Aims to Reach Ultimate Driving Milestone
Visit www.3MillionReasons.com to Submit Your Reason to Believe
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (June 18, 2013) – In a journey that has lasted nearly half a century, spanned the globe and elicited awe from generations of car lovers, Long Island’s Irv Gordon has a phenomenal achievement in his sight: driving 3,000,000 miles in the same car – a shiny, red 1966 Volvo P1800.
When he drove off the lot in 1966, Gordon began a movement. That movement continues to grow through the collective experience and passion of current Volvo owners. As Gordon approaches the milestone, Volvo Cars of North America (VCNA) is bringing the nation along for the journey with a special campaign in the months ahead. Consumers can visit 3MillionReasons.com for additional information about Gordon’s story and a map and image gallery from his road trips. Volvo lovers can also submit their own reason to believe.
“It’s not about getting to the three million miles; it’s about the trips that got me to the three million miles,” Gordon said. “I never had a goal to get to one million, to two million. I just enjoyed driving and experiencing life through my Volvo.
“The best way to explore America is by car,” Gordon added. “I challenge everyone to go out and see as much as possible. Find your own journey and reason to believe because you only have one life to live. No matter how many roads I’ve been on, there’s always one I haven’t taken. That’s what makes it exciting.”
Gordon, a 73-year-old retired science teacher from Patchogue, N.Y., holds the Guinness Book of World Records recognition for most miles driven by a single owner in a non-commercial vehicle, and has driven more than 2.99 million miles in his shiny red Volvo.
“I bought my Volvo P1800 on a Friday, and immediately fell in love,” Gordon recalled. “I couldn’t stop driving the car. It was a long holiday weekend, and I brought the car back to the dealership the following Monday for its 1,500-mile service.”
With a 125-mile round-trip daily commute, a fanatical dedication to vehicle maintenance and a passion for driving, Gordon logged 500,000 miles in 10 years.
Besides being a Volvo, one of the main reasons the car has lasted so long is that Gordon has brought his P1800 to the same certified Volvo technician for more than 15 years. Nino Gambino, a technician with an “A” rating at Volvoville in Huntington, N.Y., the same dealership where Gordon purchased his car in 1966, said, “Because Irv follows the owner’s manual and truly cares for and loves his car, I have no doubt he’ll reach three million. Irv always says he takes better care of the car than himself! And he’s fun to ride with on trips because you don’t need a map.”
In 1998 with 1.69 million miles, Gordon made the Guinness Book of World Records for most miles driven by a single owner in a non-commercial vehicle. In 2002, he drove the car’s two-millionth mile down Times Square to international media attention. For more information on Gordon’s journey, visit 3millionreasons.com/timeline.
As Gordon points his car to its three-millionth mile, “I’m realizing this will be a record that no one will surpass,” he said. “So, these next few thousands of miles will be special and sentimental for me. I’m looking forward to visiting my favorite places in big, beautiful America – from national parks to roadside cafes, from the Pacific Coast Highway to small roads that are miles from the Interstate. Send me an invite and maybe I’ll meet you for a cup of coffee.”
Based on his calculations, Gordon plans to reach three million miles in Alaska this September. America’s last frontier is one of two U.S. states Gordon has never visited and a fitting backdrop for his three million mile moment.
“For every mile Irv has logged in his Volvo, there have been just as many reasons why he’s been able to do it – from his meticulous care, on-schedule oil changes and his safe driving practices – all the way to Volvo’s legendary attention to engineering,” said John Maloney, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. “A distant predecessor to today’s models, the Volvo P1800 and Irv are the living embodiment that Volvos are enduring and designed around you. We look forward to following him on this journey, and finding ways to bring our customers and car enthusiasts everywhere along for the ride.”
Irv is out west doing a video and photo shoot for his 3 million mile party and he just sent this:
Wish this Polestar Performance Upgrade offer applied to my 2002 C70. Haberman arranged for a C30 Polestar Edition for me to use from the airport, etc while here in Santa Monica…with a 6 speed manual transmission….what a hoot! The car is so much fun to drive and the performance is amazing! I thought my HP turbo was quick…but this was totally unexpected. What a great program for the new car owners. Once they try it they will never go back!
danPosted in 3 Million Miles, 3 Million Reasons to Believe, Irv Gordon | 1 Comment »
I was not there but a young Tom Klockau was. Nice photos and cute story. Okay, I do have a soft spot for our Swedish Bricks of that era. And Irv Gordon’s car was on display, at a mere 1 million miles. She looks the same today.
danPosted in 1 Million Miles, Auto Shows, Irv Gordon | Comments Off
On my ‘old’ ’98 XC70, I have 231k miles and change. I guess in another 20 years, it might be near Irv’s first million … Congrats to Selden Cooper, the latest Volvo driver to break the million barrier. Below is his story.
Maryland Man Becomes Latest Volvo “Million Miler”
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (Oct. 18, 2012) – On a recent Saturday morning, Baltimore-area resident Selden Cooper, 66, visited his dealership of 25 years, Lehman Motors Volvo, for a routine oil change in his 1987 Volvo 240 sedan – the vehicle’s 200th oil change. That very day, Sept. 22, 2012, Cooper joined Volvo’s growing list of million-mile drivers, a rarity for auto manufacturers.
“I never contemplated that I’d reach one million miles,” said Cooper. “I previously had a 1975 Volvo 164-E. When I traded it in, it had nearly 250,000 miles on it, which I thought was outstanding. Needless to say, after that experience, I was not going to get anything other than a Volvo.”
Years of commuting to New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia for work and to pursue a doctoral degree at Temple University steadily piled on the miles. A volunteer fireman for many years, Cooper recalls fondly his trusted mode of transit. “My Volvo 240 took me to the fire station in Hershey, Pa., to respond to calls thousands of times, including a night when the ambient temperature was -22 degrees,” he recalled. “It started right up!”
For Cooper and his family, road trips also contributed to the 240’s growing mileage. There was Halifax, Nova Scotia, at more than 700,000 miles; several diving expeditions to the Florida Keys; and dozens of visits to mountainous western North Carolina. “I’ve never had any trepidation about taking my Volvo on long trips,” he said.
To reach one million miles, Cooper maintained diligent care of his vehicle and followed the service manual. “For 25 years, Mr. Cooper spent many Saturday mornings in our service lounge,” said Ray Bromley, owner of Lehman Motors Volvo. “His commitment to maintaining his car really made the difference over the years.”
“Mr. Cooper’s dedication to his Volvo 240 reflects the loyalty Volvo owners have to their cars,” said Volvo Cars of North America President and CEO John Maloney. “At Volvo, we build cars designed around people. We can’t image a better testament to the safety and longevity of our cars than several Volvo drivers surpassing the one-million-mile mark.”
Cooper has no plans to trade in his high-mileage Volvo. “It does everything I want, and it does it very reliably,” Cooper said. “It’s absolutely my pleasure to drive it. Over the past two decades, this dealership has become like family. Even after moving to Baltimore, I continued to drive 190 miles to Lehman Motors Volvo in Mechanicsburg, Pa., for service. I couldn’t imagine bringing it anywhere else.”
While Cooper may try for a second million, “he’s not too sure he’ll be the guy behind the wheel of it,” joked Mike Danzi, service manager at Lehman Motors Volvo. “Perhaps his son or daughter will assume the driver’s seat.”
Kudos from The Original One-Million-Mile Man
Shortly after reaching the milestone, Cooper met Irv Gordon, the only person to drive nearly three million miles in the same car – a 1966 Volvo P1800. (Gordon, a 71-year-old retired science teacher from Long Island, holds the Guinness Book of World Records recognition for most miles driven by a single owner in a vehicle, and has driven 2.97 million miles in his shiny red Volvo.)
“It was a pleasure to congratulate Selden personally and commend him on the impressive condition of his 240,” Gordon said. “We share a sentiment for the reliability and comfort of our Volvos, and we also share a diligent maintenance regimen and practice preventive care vigilantly. Creating vehicles that can last millions of miles reflects the ingenuity of Volvo’s engineers, but it always comes down to how the owner treats that car.”
Gordon purchased his Volvo in June 1966 and immediately fell in love, driving 1,500 miles in the first 48 hours. With a 125-mile round-trip daily commute, a fanatical dedication to vehicle maintenance and a passion for driving, Gordon logged 500,000 miles in 10 years. Today, Gordon breaks his own record every time he drives, and, like any mighty record-holder at the top of his game, is mindful of his legacy.
“I’m not sure if Selden will ever break my record, but I certainly invite him to go for it,” Gordon said. “There’s so much to explore in this country – and there’s no better way to do so than from the comfortable driver’s seat of a Volvo.”
Posted in 1 Million Miles, 3 Million Miles, Irv Gordon, Selden Cooper | 3 Comments »
Morning all. I wanted to share with you a video Irv sent over, which just appeared on USAToday.com.
The video might take a moment to load, so either get a cup of coffee or do some work until it does.
danPosted in 3 Million Miles, 3 Million Reasons to Believe, Irv Gordon | Comments Off
As Irv Gordon racks up a few more miles towards 3 million, I can tell the walls off his Long Island, NY home must be closing in on him. Yesterday he sent this over:
Irv…go to Atlanta for lunch!
danPosted in 3 Million Miles, 3 Million Reasons to Believe, Irv Gordon | 2 Comments »
Around 1970 I found KPFA Pacifica Radio. KPFA was America’s first listener sponsored radio station and offered a rather radical approach to news broadcasting. In that era life was about Vietnam and Civil Rights. At the time I was working in the San Francisco bay area, KPFA was about anti-war, smoking weed and nonconformist life in general. We all had Fox Fire books, subscribed to Mother Earth, stuff like that. For me, it was a great time to be working with Volvo in the Bay Area. I watched many anti-war marches down Berkeley Ave while working with our local dealer, McKevitt Volvo.
KPFA would spark National Public Radio which my children had to endure on road trips. It became a part of our Volvo driving experience. Today, like parents like children. Last weekend, we were driving rather early somewhere and, of course listening to NPR, and on comes a story about our very own Irv Gordon. In true Irv style, it was Irv at his best. Hearing Irv while driving was like having him along with us for our short ride. For a guy who has done about as many interviews as his Volvo has miles, he does a great job of always sounding like this is his first interview, and “gosh thanks for asking about my little Volvo P1800″ attitude. He is Volvo’s brand ambassador.
So take a moment and listen to a truly Irv Gordon interview.Irv Gordon, Volvo P1800 | Comments Off
Irv is out driving his Volvo P1800 on U.S. and Canadian roads this spring, pushing towards 3 million miles. Every so often he rattles my cage with an email saying – “I’m in the middle of nowhere and found this really great place to eat.” I know he always gets asked how many miles are on that engine, as mentioned below he had it rebuilt last summer and already racked up 100,000 miles. What I find amazing is that his seat is still working. Can you imagine 2.9 million miles on the same seat? Yes, the webbing rubber has been replaced, but still, to be comfortable after all these years is rather amazing.
I used to rebuild B16 and B18 engines (Irv’s is a B18) and can attest to how hard that iron block is. I needed one block bored out from 1400 cc’s to 1600 cc’s and my local machine shop owed me a favor so he agreed to do it for free. “It broke two bits getting it to 1600, never again.” Most of the time, engines went bad from broken piston rings or valve guides, it’s very rare to wear out a cylinder bore.
Today, we use materials only dreamed of back then. Our engines are lighter and just as tough. Will they last an Irv Gordon 3 million? Hard to tell but there are many white (aluminum block, iron sleeved) engines with over 200k on them, my XC70 included, and still they keep on ticking perfectly.
Here’s a note from Irv from the road.
Been driving all day and night and now in Texas…200 miles from San Antonio. Weather finally cooperating…skies clear…light wind and stars shinning bright. Now killing time in a truck stop on I-35 as I will arrive very early otherwise. (dj: Irv is driving from NY to one of our Texas retailers for an event).
Satellite radio has been a great companion all the way. GPS has given me someone to argue with since I left home. If I had listened to “her” I would have been right in the middle of all those tornadoes!! Glad I took my own route. Nothing beats experience on the road. The old car is running 110 percent and has not used any oil….averaging 28 mpg. Obviously my friend, Duane, who rebuilt the engine over 100,000 miles ago, did a great job.
Snapped a few pics along the way…sorry about the quality. So much for my entertainment along the way. Sent pics of the menu so you can all just salivate and realize what you are missing!! LMAO!!!!!
Now to fill up for the last time before arriving in San Antonio.
My best to all….wish you could all share this adventure. Too much to describe here…would need a secretary to take notes! LOL
Also, be sure to check out this cool project Google did on Irv Gordon and his Volvo P1800:
danPosted in 3 Million Miles, Irv Gordon | 1 Comment »
I’ve seen lots of pieces written about our Irv Gordon and his almost 3 million mile Volvo but this one has some really good tips about how to get to 3 million. As a side note about how not to get there, a good friend’s father died this summer. Tom took his dad’s Jeep wagon and started using it as their daily driver. Tom is not a car guy, far from it. He’s more like my father who believed that cars need working on only when they break and not much in between. So Tom called me and asked, “What’s makes a ticking noise in the engine?” I went over and listened – it was a connecting rod. “Not good Tom.” He said the service light has been on for a long time and when we checked the oil, there was none. It’s up on Craig’s List right now.
So if nothing else, oil changes are a must. Heck, just checking for oil is a must.
Can a Car Really Last a Million Miles?
|Written by Heinold and Feller|
| From the November 2011 VehicleMD publication
One million miles. It’s like driving 10,000 miles a year…for a century. It’s like driving around the earth’s equator…40 times. It’s like taking a round trip to the moon…twice. (Before the astronomers write in, we know it’s technically only 955,428 miles in two round trips to the moon, but we rounded!) It’s so far, in fact, that it takes light a little more than 5.3 seconds to cross one million miles.
In other words, one million miles is, in the human scale of things, a loooooong way. Yet more and more vehicles these days are turning up with that magic number on their odometers. And I’m not talking about over-the-road trucks, either, since those big-rigs are built to endure such long distances. I’m talking about the very same passenger vehicles most of us drive every single day.
For instance, you might have read about Joe LoCicero, the insurance adjuster from Maine who just hit the million-mile mark in his 1990 Honda Accord. Bought the car used in 1996 when it had 74,000 miles on it and averages about 4,700 miles per month.
Or how about Wisconsin travelling salesman Peter Gilbert, who retired his 1989 Saab 900 to a museum in 2006 after wracking up 1,001,285 miles.
Finally, there’s New York’s Irv Gordon, a retired schoolteacher who purchased his 1966 Volvo P1800S brand new and is preparing to hit the three million-mile (!) mark early next year. Gordon- who put 1,500 miles on the car the first two days he had it- has driven the car an average of 65,000 miles per year, even shipping the car across the Atlantic to tour Europe on occasion.
So how have these drivers achieved such extreme lifespans with their cars, especially when a typical vehicle’s lifespan is around 145,000 miles? By following these seven strategies.
1. Drive. A lot.
As these drivers could attest, though highway miles are amassed faster, they are typically easier on your car than miles driven in city traffic. Constantly starting, stopping, accelerating, idling, cranking, etc. puts a lot of stress on your car. In contrast, a vehicle, like any machine, operates at peak efficiency when it is in a steady-state rhythm like that experienced while driving at a steady speed on the highway.
But don’t worry. Even if you commute (like Gordon did for decades in his Volvo before retiring), there are some other strategies you can use to maximize your vehicle’s lifespan.
2. Change is good.
Think about it. Your car’s engine is like any other industrial machine. It works hard with metal parts sliding back and forth against each other hundreds of times each minute. For vehicles that accumulate the miles, that means the engine is experiencing millions, even billions, of revolutions. That kind of mechanical pressure takes its toll on the motor oil that lubricates engine parts, making periodic oil changes a safe bet if you want to keep your car running.
Gordon, for instance, changes his oil every few thousand miles, and didn’t have to have the Volvo’s engine overhauled for the first time until nearly 675,000 miles showed on the odometer. Plus, as motor oil quality has improved in recent decades, those overhauls have gotten further and further apart!
3. Follow the schedule.
4. Try the synthetic route.
5. Invest in repairs.
During his frequent travels, Gilbert encountered several wayward deer and had to pay for collision repairs on several different occasions. And while it can seem like a waste to spend money repairing an older vehicle, if you do the math you’ll find that even a major repair job (spread out over time) is less expensive than replacing your current vehicle. Like the wise man once said, the cheapest car you’ll ever own is the one you’re driving now!
6. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Gordon notes that he spends as much or more time cleaning his car on the outside than he does maintaining it on the inside. Not only does running your car through the carwash keep it clean and sparkly, it also removes the dirt/grime/salt that can over time contribute to wear and damage.
Not to mention the fact that you’re almost certain to take more pride in a car that you spend time and money keeping in good shape. After all, none of the cars we’ve run across that hit the magical million-mile mark were beaters!
7. Take care.
Well, that involves visiting your neighborhood auto service center. You see, the technicians that service your vehicle aren’t just changing the motor oil and filter. They’re also giving your car a thorough once over, looking for little problems that you can fix before they become big-and expensive- ones.
Thus our final piece of advice is to partner with a trusted technician or mechanic and listen to his (or her) advice when it comes to needed maintenance and repairs. Because if you really want to drive a million miles, chances are you’ll need some help.
I think only long haul truckers get more annual mileage than Irv, maybe. Irv’s summer vacations are more about attending Concourse shows, club events around the U.S. and Canada and visiting our retailers, than about sitting on the veranda sipping sweet ice tea. Oh yes, almost forgot, he’s heading to Australia (without his trusty red P1800) to be with Volvo’s national club Down Under.
The author of this piece, Gary Sowerby is no stranger to long distance driving himself (https://www.media.volvocars.com/ca/enhanced/en-ca/Media/Preview.aspx?mediaid=39472). A couple of months ago, Gary came to our XC Adventure in Gateway, Colorado. From the way he was talking, it looked like he was wondering how fast he could take one around the globe – again.
Here is Gary’s story about the Canadian Volvo Club’s 31st annual Family Day Picnic. Enjoy.
danPosted in Irv Gordon, P1800, XC Adventure | 2 Comments »