One careful owner; 3 million miles on clock

21:16, Oct 11 2013
Irv and his Volvo P1800 on the Seward Highway Alaska.
THREE MILLION MILES UP: Irv and his Volvo P1800 on the Seward Highway Alaska.

A 74-year-old Long Island native and retired science teacher, Irv Gordon reached a milestone no other individual has accomplished in more than 100 years of automobile manufacturing: driving three million miles (4.8 million kilometres) in the same vehicle - a shiny, cherry red 1966 Volvo P1800.

To mark the occasion, Gordon drove his three millionth mile on the Seward Highway - Alaska Highway 1 - along the Turnagain Arm. This "Last Frontier" road is in one of two US states Gordon had never visited and a was seen as a fitting backdrop for his historic, record-breaking achievement.

"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.

Irv Gordon behind the wheel of his much-loved and much-travelled Volvo P1800.
ANOTHER DRIVE: Irv Gordon behind the wheel of his much-loved and much-travelled Volvo P1800.

"I never had a goal to get to one million, to two million. I just enjoyed driving and experiencing life through my Volvo."

Quite rightly keen to bask in the glow of Gordon's Volvo's remarkable achievement, John Maloney, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars of North America says: "The spirited red P1800 represents an extraordinary demonstration of reliability, durability, safety and intelligent design that honours all Volvos past and present."

"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."


Volvo P1800
VOLVO P1800: Looks like no other car.

Gordon bought his Volvo on a Friday and immediately fell in love, he remembers, and says he couldn't stop driving the car. "It was a holiday weekend, and I brought the car back to the dealership the following Monday for its 1500-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. In 1987, he celebrated his one-millionth mile driving a loop around the Tavern on the Green in Central Park. 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. Since then, Gordon has effectively broken his record every time he drives his celebrated car.

As Gordon neared his three-millionth mile, he noted, "I'm realising this will be a record that no one will surpass and I've been feeling especially sentimental with these last few drives in beautiful Alaska. I've enjoyed the expansive landscape, a drive through the long tunnel to Prince William Sound/Whittier and a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Centre."

"Everyone asks, what's next? Well, I'll keep driving my Volvo P1800 to auto shows and taking trips across the country.

"Not much will change. But whether I drive four million miles is more up to me than it is the car.

"The car may be able to take it, but I'm not so sure about me."