I Can See For Miles (And Miles And Miles)
The Who sang that they could see for miles and miles and miles etc. but could they drive it?
One of the first things we look at when buying a car is its mileage, and hope that the clock hasn’t been turned back. But is a high mileage such a bad thing, or are cars built now NOT to last, as opposed to “back in my day.”
A newspaper recently reported that there was a 93 year-old grandmother in Florida who was advertising for sale her Mercury Comet that she bought in 1964 for $3,000. It has had one careful owner and a mileage of 576,000 miles.
Interested? Or are there too many miles on that clock?
Back in 2004, Greek taxi driver Gregorious Sachinidis donated his Mercedes Benz 240d to a museum because it held the world record for mileage with a total of 2.8 million miles on the clock.
Hopefully that wasn’t just one journey otherwise that is one hell of a charge – “including waiting time, guv!”
But Mr Sachinidis must have been kicking himself when Irv Gordon came along.
Back in 1966 he bought a cherry red Volvo P1800 S Coupe for $4,150 from a neighbourhood Volvo dealership in order to do the 125 mile a day round trip to his work in a school as a science teacher.
And, 46 years after Mr Gordon took the keys, the car has the same engine, same radio, same axles, same transmission and of course, the same driver. He is the only person who has ever driven his P1800.
Speaking on the Jay Leno show in America back in 2006, Mr Gordon said: “If you would have told me 40 years ago I’d still be driving this beautiful car, and that I would have driven these many miles, I would have told you ‘good, For one thing, the car just felt right from the beginning. And, what a beautiful country this is; I’m so glad I’ve had the time and opportunity to take so much of it in.”
His mileage? Just over 2,900,000 miles!
He’s now retired and has used the car to visit friends around America, and the rest of the world, including Mexico, Holland and Sweden (where he visited his car’s birthplace.)
They sure made cars to last back then!
Other long-lasters have included Maine resident ‘Million Mile’ Joe whose 1990 Honda Accord was the first ever Honda to, you guessed it, do a million miles, and Syl Schmid from Ohio whose Volkswagen Jetta still has its original powertrain and muffler, so should be nice and quiet (NOT) as it goes past its 562,000th mile.
No real surprise that these long-lasters are in America – which, if you don’t know, is a big place – but wherever you are, it is a general belief that on average, a car is driven around 12,000 miles a year. If it belongs to a salesperson or someone with a driving job it will obviously be higher, so age of a car multiplied by 12,000 should give you an expected mileage.
But, as you can see here, a high mileage doesn’t necessarily mean a car isn’t a good one!
The real mileage daddy of them all is surely a car that has been driven since 1885 until now (if today was 2015.) I am, of course, talking about the DeLorean DMC-12 that featured in the ‘Back to The Future’ Trilogy. Admittedly, it never really left Hill Valley, but over the years all those trips to the shop must add up!
Actually: 130 years multiplied by 12,000 = 1,560,000.
Irv Gordon: I doff my cap to you!