Don't Call These Million-Mile Cars Clunkers, Kids

By Blake Z. Rong | June 19, 2012
There's a funny thing that happens when a car's odometer ticks past its six-figure "planned obsolescence" marker—it rolls over and resets itself. There's literally nowhere else to turn. It goes back to zero, brand new again, as if it was a phoenix reborn from the ashes. What's a million miles, or a million of anything, for that matter? At a million miles one could reasonably lap the moon a couple of times. It could circumnavigate the globe enough times until you're fluent in Esperanto. To drive a million miles, it would take you two straight years of driving at 60 miles per hour—or, if you prefer your bathroom breaks to be luxurious, you could be like these overachieving drivers, as listed by Popular Mechanics. There's no surprise for some of the cars on this list—pickup trucks, diesel Benzes, and the Lincoln Town Car, for example, which livery owners swear by—but some other choices are surprising. A Saab, for example, should be expected to fall apart around its third Massachusetts winter, or its fourteenth rally stage, but Peter Gilbert's 1989 Saab 900 SPG survived 17 years, three head gaskets, and one transmission—before it was donated to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum due to rust issues. Deficit omne, quod nasciture. Some cars have interesting provenances, too. The BMW 325i was used as a freak science experiment by Mobil Oil and made to run at 85 miles per hour on a dynamometer for four years. When Joe LoCicero passed the million-mile mark in his 1990 Accord, Honda threw him a parade. Hugh Pennington says that if you're going to drive a million miles, get leather seats—his 2006 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD has 'em.
There's even a motorcycle on the list: a BMW K100 RT, whose 82-year owner Dave Swisher put 48,000 miles on last year. Well technically, the million-mile figure is split between two motorcycles, that and an R75/5—and the K100 has 300,000 miles alone, which is no small feat when motorcycles usually enter the scrapyard with less than a tenth of that. Swisher's BMWs (he has 19 in total) have seen dirt from three continents over 26 years of riding. Unsurprisingly, most of these people are delivery drivers, or traveling salesmen—there's still a quaint, romantic notion of the lone traveling salesman plying his trade on the secluded back roads of our quiet, forgotten hamlets. Especially if you can do so in a 1966 Volvo P1800, whose owner and Guinness record holder Irv Gordon takes the cake: Volvo gave him a brand-new 780 Bertone coupe in the 1980s when Gordon's P1800 passed its first million, then a C70 convertible and a parade in Times Square when it passed its second. Gordon is closing in on its third million, simply because he loves driving the P1800 and nothing else, which must be a source of quiet consternation for Volvo's PR executives. Don't count on Volvo giving him an S60 Polestar when he crosses the third million sometime next July, that little overachiever. Source: Popular Mechanics