The car that has travelled the most in the world

At a little over 40,000 kilometeres, the circumference of the Earth is no short distance. Yet, on an average driving cycle it is not difficult to achieve this in a year. But even in your old dilapidated car that has weathered many summers and winters how many times have you been able to go around the planet? 8-9 times.

Meet Irv Gordon, a 74 year old retired science teacher from New York who just did a mind boggling 3 million miles (48 lakh kilometers) in his 1966 Volvo P1800 last week. Or 120 times around the equator. In the process he and his car have become celebrities in their own right.

“Recently my P1800 has been through some terrible weather, and never complained once. What a great automobile!” he says with obvious pride.

“Everyone asks what next? Well, I’ll keep driving my car to auto shows and taking trips across the country. Not much will change. But whether I drive four million miles is more up to me than it is the car. The car may be able to take it, but I’m not so sure about me.”

Gordon’s story started back in 1966, when he bought his P1800 and notched up 2400 kilometers in just two days. Then, largely due to a daily commute of 200 kilometers, the 80,000 kilometer mark passed by in the first decade itself. While most would consider selling off or upgrading to the next car, Gordon was and is so in love with his vehicle that he carried on.

It has been 47 years since Gordon started cranking his car and while Volvo stopped its production back in the 70s, the P1800’s existence proves good cars never die. Such dramatics are rarely kept track of and while it is unlikely India may also have its fair share of heroes. Some Ambassador in some nondescript part of the country may still be chugging along un-noticed and unheralded with many a mile on its odometer.

Even the first Maruti 800 to be rolled out of the carmaker’s Gurgaon factory is carrying on like a well oiled machine. And its owner the septuagenarian Harpal Singh refuses to let go of it. Perhaps it will carry on even after Maruti pulls the plug off its 30 year old marquee brand in 2015.

The next time dont fret when you see over a lakh kilometers on your car or on the used car you are pursuing. Just think about Gordon and ask yourself if this is your P1800.

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