Irv Gordon’s 1966 Volvo 1800S has already made the Guinness Book of World Records twice; once for eclipsing all other cars on the road when it hit 1.69 million miles in 1998, and again in 2002, when the the car’s odometer rolled past 2 million miles. Mr. Gordon, a retired science teacher from Patchogue, N.Y., reached 2.9 million miles in the car this month, and is now about 30,000 miles shy of 3 million miles, and a third nod from Guinness.
Mr. Gordon, 73, bought the car in 1966, after having bad experiences with two Chevrolet Corvairs. The first decade he owned the Volvo, he drove the car 500,000 miles. So far, he has driven his 1800S through every one of the Lower 48 states, and even had it shipped to Europe once and drove it around the continent. He’s done all that on the original engine, although Mr. Gordon has had it overhauled twice, at the 680,000-mile mark and again at nearly 2 million miles. Mr. Gordon has been telling everyone for years that the first rebuild wasn’t even necessary.
Volvo has certainly recognized Mr. Gordon’s car as the public relations boon that it is, casting the durable red coupe in a commercial comparing other Volvos to the one that’s been snagging records for the last decade and a half.
Volvo introduced the P1800 in 1960, and it is arguably one of the prettier Volvos ever made. When it came out, Volvos were known for having more of a utilitarian look. But the 1800’s body was Italian, coming from Ghia’s coachworks. While still often referred to as the P1800, the model’s name was changed by Volvo to 1800S in 1964, and again to 1800E/1800ES in 1970, although it was essentially the same car throughout its run.
According to a 2007 post on the Volvo Owners’ Club Web site, Mr. Gordon had toyed with the idea of selling his car after it hit 3 million miles – asking one dollar for each mile he has driven. Unrealistic asking prices aside, it looks like he and his 1800S are in it for the (really) long haul. Perhaps we’ll hear from him again at 4 million miles.