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Three million miles in a Volvo

20th July, 2010 (copyright image)

Irv Gordon with his one-owner 1966 Volvo P1800S

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American citizen, Irv Gordon - driver of the highest mileage vehicle on the road, a 1966 Volvo P1800 - has just turned 70. Now he aims to reach a possible unmatchable record sometime in the next three years.

The two-seater sports coupe P1800 was first shown at the 1960 Brussels Motor Show. Production commenced one year later, so next year the P1800 celebrates its 50 year anniversary. Almost 46,000 units of the famous Pelle Petterson designed model were produced in various versions until production ceased in 1973.

One of the P1800 icons is the British actor Roger Moore, who drove the car in the TV series "The Saint". Another famous P1800 driver is Irv Gordon. With more than 2.8 million miles on his red Volvo sports car, Gordon was celebrating his birthday on 15th July by affirming his goal of reaching three million miles before his 73rd birthday - enshrining him as an 'iron man' in automotive endurance.

Gordon, a retired science teacher from East Patchogue, N.Y., purchased his Volvo in June 1966, 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.

Guinness Book of World Records

In 1998 with 1.69 million miles, he made the Guinness Book of World Records for the 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.

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Today, Gordon breaks his own record every time he drives, whether it's to Cincinnati (Ohio) for coffee, Rolla (Missouri), for lunch or Green River (Wyoming), for dinner. Gordon - like any mighty record-holder at the top of his game - is mindful of his legacy, as well as setting a record no-one can beat.

"Three million miles by my 73rd birthday sounds right," Gordon said. "But, whether I reach that mark is more up to me than it is the car. The car's parts have long proven they can take it, but I'm not so sure about my own. Either way, it will be a fantastic testament to the engineering genius of Volvo as well as to the resiliency of folks my age."

Gordon is unsure what to do with his Volvo after three million miles, though he has considered selling it for no less than one dollar per each mile he's driven.

"I used to think I'd park it in a museum where people will get to enjoy seeing the car that beat the odds - all with the same engine, same radio, same axles, same transmission and, of course, the same driver," Gordon said. "Now I think, ‘no way.' I'll either keep driving it or sell it for $3 million."

And what would he do if he made $3 million with the sale of the car?

"I'd spend it on traveling," he said. "Road trips, of course."


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