Some people like to keep their car tucked away to keep the miles down.
Not Irv Gordon, though, whose beloved Volvo P1800 clocked up an incredible 5.1 million kilometers (3.2 million miles) during his ownership, earning it the title of the world’s highest mileage car.
To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of driving to the moon 14 times.
Irv never set out to become a world record holder, though.
In fact, he simply wanted a reliable car after two bad experiences with new vehicles.
So in 1966, he purchased a P1800 and notched up 2,414 kilometers (1,500 miles) after his first week of ownership.
What business did a middle-school teacher have putting in so many miles so soon?
He simply loved to drive and wasn’t afraid to admit it.
“Obviously, I like to drive,” Irv once said. “It’s my way of relaxing and getting away from it all.”
After clocking up 2,414 kilometers in just one weekend, Irv took every opportunity to get behind the wheel of his trusty car.
Apparently, at 402,336 kilometers (250,000 miles) and with no repair work outside of regularly scheduled services, Irv wrote to Volvo.
“We’re happy you’re happy with the product, don’t forget to buckle up,” the Swedish automaker responded.
Irv wrote again at 804,672 kilometers (500,000 miles) and again at the million-mile mark (1,609,344 kilometers), at which point someone at Volvo took notice and gifted him a brand-new 780 coupe.
Irv’s passion for driving wasn’t just restricted to his native US, though.
Irv Gordon became brand ambassador for Volvo Cars, which saw him bring his P1800 to auto shows throughout Europe.
He was even invited to the factory where his vehicle was built.
Irv also flew out to South Africa courtesy of Castrol Oil for a campaign highlighting the oil’s performance and reliability.
You’re probably wondering how Irv managed to keep his car running for so long.
In all the years that he drove his P1800, parts that routinely wore out were replaced and the engine rebuilt.
However, the engine block and transmission were all original.
When asked if he would ever give his old Volvo up if it wouldn’t start, his answer was frank and honest.
“No such thing, it’d never happen. If it didn’t start, I’d find out why it didn’t start and fix it.”
Sadly, at the age of 78 and the proud owner of the world’s highest mileage car, Irv Gordon sadly passed away in 2018.