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Irv Gordon is a retired schoolteacher living on Long Island in East Patchogue. If you ever want to have a conversation with someone who can advise you on the best way to take care of your car...he's an expert. But you probably won't find him very easily.
Mr. Gordon is 72 and he drives his red 1966 Volvo P1800S coupe everywhere. Apparently, he's been doing that for a long time because he anticipates that his odometer will pass the 3-million milestone some time soon, maybe within the next six months.
He has held the Guinness World Records mark for High Mileage Vehicle since 2002 and was the first person to hold that record.
"It's just a car I enjoy driving," he says.
He bought it new in 1966, and according to AutoBlog.com, a 125-mile round trip daily commute and a penchant for regular maintenance got the car extremely far. In 1998 it made the Guinness Book of World Records at just 1.69 million miles.
Gordon says he purchased his sporty 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 dedication to vehicle maintenance and a passion for driving, Gordon logged 500,000 miles in 10 years. In 1998 with 1.69 million miles, he made the Guinness Book of World Records for most miles driven by a single owner in a non-commercial vehicle.
The Volvo folks say this: Today, Gordon breaks his own record every time he drives, whether it's to Cincinnati for coffee, Rolla, Mo., for lunch or Green River, Wyo., for dinner. And now, the treasured Volvo P1800 continues to roll through the ages despite the wear of road and time, Gordon - like any mighty record-holder at the top of his game - has begun to think about his legacy.
"My goal is to reach three million miles pretty soon," Gordon said. "But, whether I reach that mark is more up to me than it is the car. The car's parts may be able to take it, but I'm not so sure about my own.
"I turn 72 on July 15, 2012," he added. "That seems like a nice day to clock three million and park the car once and for all. It will be a fantastic testament to the engineering genius of Volvo as well as to the resiliency of folks my age."
Through the late '90s and early part of this decade, Gordon had been driving at a near fanatical pace of well over 100,000 miles per year, peaking in March 2002 when he gained worldwide attention for turning two million miles while driving down Broadway in Times Square. Today, to reach his next milestone, he is allowing a more conservative pace of 80,000 miles per year, thanks in large part to doctor's orders.
"You tire a little easier when you reach my age," Gordon said. "Gone are the nights when I'd be driving through Nebraska at 3 a.m. on I-80 West, jacked up on two pots of delicious Waffle House coffee.
"Last year, when my doctor told me I could no longer drive 24 hours at a time, 1,000 miles a day, I thought he was out of his mind, but I now realize he's right," Gordon said. "Today, I get a full night's sleep, eat healthy and take eight days to drive cross country, rather than six. The car gets plenty of exercise no matter how I plan each trip."
Gordon drives for the pure pleasure of driving but, these days, what motivates him most is an invitation to drive to an event to show off his car and visit friends. As he drives toward three million miles, he's looking for new places to go.
In an interview with autoblog.com, Gordon said: "I've traveled pretty much every Interstate in the U.S. many times over, so these days I'm looking for fresh, alternative routes and sights," Gordon said. "I'm hoping for some invitations to some faraway places like Europe, Australia or Hawaii.
"I can hold my own with almost any trucker at any truck stop in any country - discussing roads, construction, or the best nearby, small-town diner with a good cup of decaf and piece of raisin toast."
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 also think it should go in a nice, cozy 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.
"So, maybe I'll sell it. Maybe I'll donate it to a museum," he concluded. "Who knows? Maybe I'll keep driving it."
Mr. Gordon, GasBuddy salutes you -- Continue to drive that fantastic car as long as you enjoy it!