7 Million Mile Cars That Have Proven They Can Go the Distance
Getting a car to one million miles feels next-to-impossible. For many of us, just getting a car to 200,000 miles feels like an admirable feat. However, there are seven cars that have gone the distance and beyond, some from brands you might not expect. These cars (and trucks!) haven’t just joined the million-mile club, but they’ve gone beyond in showing the capabilities of the longest lasting cars of all time.
7. 1991 Chevy Silverado
In 1996, Frank Oresnik worked delivering steak and seafood from Wisconsin to Chicago every day. In hopes of getting a long-lasting, affordable truck, Oresnick bought a ’91 Chevy Silverado with 41,000 miles on the odometer. Little did he know that he would eventually make that pickup one of the longest-lasting trucks of all time.
By 2008, he had run his truck past a million miles. A few years later, he hit the 1.29 million mark. In talking to NPR, Oresnik said he got a head start from the original owner, who added Zeibart undercoating protection to the undercarriage. The rest was simply routine maintenance, and the truck used its original engine for its entire lifespan.
6. 1983 Lincoln Town Car
Chet Belisle is a Kansas man with a penchant for road tripping. Over the years, he managed to run his ’83 Lincoln Town Car 1.3 million miles before ABC7 caught up with him for a checkup in 2009. Amazingly, Belisle said the car had never broken down to that point, though the odometer flipped back to zero a few times. He had Lincoln replace every part with a lifetime guarantee and was obsessive about tune-ups and maintenance over the years.
5. 1963 Volkswagen Beetle
If there is one thing most million-mile cars have in common, it’s build quality. An exception here is the Volkswagen Beetle SoCal native Albert Klein bought for $1,900 in 1963. Sporting imitation leather seats and a $5 outside mirror as an option, this car was not made for the long haul. Klein was determined, however, and the L.A. Times reported he replaced the engine seven times on his way to the milestone he reached in 1987. The final count before the indestructible Bug’s retirement was 1.61 million miles.
4. 1963 Plymouth Fury
To reach 1.62 million miles in the same car, you need to take special care of it and have great luck, too. Joseph Vaillancourt, a Montreal-based taxi driver who drove his 1963 Plymouth close to the all-time record, was indeed lucky until the very end. Just a few hundred miles from claiming the Guinness World Record for mileage in 1999, Vaillancourt’s Fury was totaled by a truck running a red light. (Source: CBC)
3. 1979 Volvo 245 GL
There is no human-interest story behind the 1979 Volvo 245 GL that reached 1.63 million miles in 2014. A Finnish logistics operation called S.E. Makinen ran this model to its extreme mileage total as a company car. According to an article translated from the original Finnish, S.E. Makinen’s manager said it had been driven with care. We’re guessing all its maintenance checks went as scheduled, too.
2. 1976 Mercedes-Benz 240D
Reaching 1 million miles is one thing, but hitting 2 million is among the rarest of accomplishments for a vehicle. Gregorios Sachinidis, a Greek cab driver who drove a 1976 Mercedes 240D, actually passed 2.85 million miles between 1981 and 2004. At that point, Mercedes acknowledged it as the longest-running car in the brand’s history and traded Sachinidis a brand-new C-Class model for his 240D, which it put on display in the company’s museum.
1. 1966 Volvo P1800
There is a rather extensive club of million-mile cars and even one that flew past 2 million. However, only one ever reached 3 million miles and kept driving. That car is a 1966 Volvo P1800 belonging to Irv Gordon of Long Island, NY. Gordon claimed the Guinness World Record back in 2014 when he’d posted 3.04 million miles.
His advice is the same as many others: Follow maintenance guidelines, change the oil, wash your car regularly, and use genuine parts. In an interview with the Indy Star, Gordon also endorsed buying gasoline at a high-volume station to keep gunk from building up in the engine. Finally, he said to trust automakers over dealers. “Do what the manual calls for, not what the dealer calls for,” Gordon said. “People who built the car wrote the manual.”
Source: The High Mile Club
This article was updated for freshness on June 27, 2023.