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Volvo’s rolling commercial just passed three million miles

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Sep 22, 2013

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Irv Gordon\'s 1966 P1800 (Volvo)

One of the best advertisements for Volvo is not even one that the company pays for. It’s Irv Gordon’s Volvo P1800, which he bought new in 1966, and just passed the three million mile mark. Okay, Volvo probably spends some money to celebrate the continuing occasion. Still, we’re pretty sure it’s second fiddle to the money it spends to have Jeremy Lin serve as Volvo’s spokesperson. Volvo celebrated when Irv’s P1800 hit the one million mile mark. And then again when it passed two million miles. Last week, Irv reached a milestone that Volvo is happy to tell you no other individual has accomplished in more than 100 years of automobile manufacturing: driving three million miles in the same vehicle. In this case, it’s a shiny, cherry red 1966 Volvo P1800. To mark the occasion, Gordon drove his three millionth mile on Alaska Highway 1. The "Last Frontier" is evidently one of two U.S. states Gordon had never visited. Video footage of Gordon's milestone moment can be viewed at (by the way, we’re pretty sure that’s an actor playing Irv in the early scenes of the video).

Irv Gordon next to his Volvo P1800 in The Last Frontier (Volvo)

"It's not about getting to the three million miles; it's about the trips that got me to the three million miles," Gordon said. "I never had a goal to get to one million, to two million. I just enjoyed driving and experiencing life." "We at Volvo applaud Irv and his Volvo. The spirited red P1800 represents an extraordinary demonstration of reliability, durability, safety and intelligent design that honors all Volvos past and present," said John Maloney, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America (what else do you expect him to say?). "His P1800 is the living embodiment that Volvos are designed around you." We can add that the P1800 is also a damn good looking car—a testament to some of the good designs that came out of the 1960s. "The best way to explore America is by car," Gordon added. "I challenge everyone to go out and see as much as possible. Find your own journey and reason to believe because you only have one life to live. No matter how many roads I've been on, there's always one I haven't taken. That's what makes it exciting." "I bought my Volvo P1800 on a Friday and immediately fell in love," Gordon recalled. "I couldn't stop driving the car. It was a holiday weekend, and I brought the car back to the dealership the following Monday for its 1,500-mile service."

Can your car look this good after 3 million miles? (Volvo)

With a 125-mile round-trip daily commute, a fanatical dedication to vehicle maintenance and a passion for driving, Gordon logged 500,000 miles in 10 years. In 1987, he celebrated his one-millionth mile driving a loop around the Tavern on the Green in Central Park. In 1998 with 1.69 million miles, Gordon made the Guinness Book of World Records for most miles driven by a single owner in a non-commercial vehicle. In 2002, he drove the car's two-millionth mile down Times Square to international media attention (you can bet Volvo had something to do with the media attention). As Gordon rolled to his three-millionth mile, he noted, "I'm realizing this will be a record that no one will surpass and I've been feeling especially sentimental with these last few drives in beautiful Alaska. I've enjoyed the expansive landscape, a drive through the long tunnel to Prince William Sound/Whittier and a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. The folks at Continental Volvo in Anchorage were kind enough to throw me a wonderful reception." "Everyone asks, what's next? Well, I'll keep driving my Volvo P1800 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." If you want to see how good a car can look after three million miles, see the photo gallery that follows. To see more examples of Volvo bragging about Irv Gordon’s car, visit

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