KUNM

Man-Volvo Love Story May Hit 3 Million-Mile Mark

Jul 21, 2012
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So how much do you love your car? I mean, how much do you really trust it? Would you drive your car to the edge of the Earth, then back, then back again and again? Well, Irv Gordon knows the meaning of commitment. His 1966 Volvo P1800S holds the Guinness World Record for the highest recorded mileage of any car.

He blew past the number of digits on the odometer years ago and is expected to reach three million miles next year. Irv Gordon is not a Volvo test driver. He's a retired schoolteacher in Long Island. Irv Gordon joins us now from Patchogue, Long Island.

Thanks very much. Congratulations in advance.

IRV GORDON: Well, thank you very much, Scott.

SIMON: Tell me about this love story, man and Volvo. How did you guys meet?

GORDON: Well, I had a friend who showed me a picture of a P1800 Volvo, convertible. And we went down to take a look at it. And in those days the salesmen just handed you the keys and said, oh, take it for a ride and when you get through come on back and then we'll talk about it. We were out for three hours. I wouldn't have brought it back then, but I was almost out of gas.

SIMON: Those days have changed. That much has changed certainly. What color is your Volvo?

GORDON: It's cherry red.

SIMON: Uh-huh. Still, right?

GORDON: Still same color it came out of the showroom.

SIMON: Is there a secret to keeping your car in tiptop shape?

GORDON: You know, it just takes a certain amount of responsibility. So, you know, I try to drive sensibly. I'm not the first one out from the traffic light. I'm not the last guy to hit the brakes coming to the next stop sign. You know, I drive at that one speed. I don't constantly accelerate and cut in and out of traffic. I pick a lane and I stay in it.

SIMON: If I might put this nicely, do you ever get tired of just having essentially had one car for most of your adult life?

GORDON: I bought a car that I really loved. I mean, I bought the car on a Friday night, took my folks for a short ride with it. And I continued to drive it all of Friday night, all day Saturday, all day Sunday. And Monday morning at 8 o'clock I was back at the dealership for its first checkup - 1,500 miles. So...

SIMON: Oh, my gosh.

GORDON: I mean, you know, it's like anything else. Things that are new eventually get old and people get tired of it. Well, I kept it past the point where it got old and tired. It's now something unique and it's a great way to meet people, you know. It's a great conversation breaker.

SIMON: Have you ever talked to the Car Guys?

GORDON: Click and Clack?

SIMON: Yeah.

GORDON: Oh, no, I've never spoken to them. No.

SIMON: I mention it because they're retiring and your car is still going on.

GORDON: Oh, is that right? Are they retiring?

SIMON: Yeah. Yes. Yeah.

GORDON: Oh, that's too bad.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Yes, it is.

GORDON: I hope they'll be around for at least another year in case I have a problem.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Irv Gordon is the owner of the world's most driven car, according to Guinness World Records. His 1966 Volvo is set to hit 3 million miles next year.

Thanks so much. Happy trails to you, Mr. Gordon.

GORDON: Well, thank you very much. And I really appreciate your interest.

SIMON: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.