When a car lasts a long time, you might feel like you hit the jackpot. Monthly payments become a part of history, and insurance dips to the point where the cost is negligible. As long as the car is not expensive to maintain, you’re basically operating the vehicle for the price of gas. That frees up cash to save for your next vehicle or whatever other purchase you have on the horizon.
However, there comes a point when you might think your car is going to last forever. Once you pass 200,000 miles on the odometer and look to future milestones, you might get greedy. Though it sounds crazy, you might even think your car can reach a million miles.
Actually, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. We did a little digging into the “million mile clubs” car owners set up over the years and found some amazing figures. Here are 20 cars that reached 1 million miles, ranked from the lowest to the greatest of all time.
20. 1964 Porsche 356C
San Pedro (Calif.) native Guy Newmark received his 1964 Porsche 356C as a graduation present from his father in the mid-1960s. Over 50 years later, Newmark was still driving his blue Porsche when the odometer ticked over the million-mile mark. Undaunted, Newmark continued driving it every day. His approach says everything: Newmark took it in for maintenance after every 3,000 miles over the last five decades.
19. 2007 Toyota Tundra
If 2007 seems like a recent model year to hit 1 million miles, we agree. A Louisiana man named Vic Sheppard racked up that impossible mileage count in about nine years of driving between his home state and North Dakota. He mixed in plenty of trips to Virginia as well, averaging about 125,000 miles a year. When Toyota learned about Sheppard’s milestone, the automaker traded him a brand-new model in exchange for his Tundra, which looked great considering the distance it had traveled.
18. 2006 Honda Civic
We consider Honda Civic a good bet to reach 300,000 miles, but Paul Habib crossed 750,000 within five years of buying his 2006 Civic LX. A few years later, the Indiana man steamed past 1 million miles and kept going. About halfway into that epic run, Habib replaced the engine. He chronicled his progress in this indestructible Civic over the years on a Honda owners forum, and you’ll hear a common thread with other million milers: Watch out for deer.
17. 1987 Volvo 240
Volvo has built a reputation over the years as an automaker with cars that drive forever, and a look at the Volvo owners’ club confirms that. A Maryland man named Selden Cooper joined the fold in 2012 when he pushed his ’87 Volvo 240 past the milestone. What did he drive before that? “I previously had a 1975 Volvo 164-E,” Cooper said. “When I traded it in, it had nearly 250,000 miles on it.” Sounds like Cooper’s neighbors could trust him with their car when they left town for awhile.
16. 1996 Dodge Ram
Some Detroit pickup trucks have shown remarkable resilience over the years. One special case was a 1996 Dodge Ram 2500 owned by Dan Edelman. Rather than buying the truck for the brand name or model, Edelman bought his Ram for the engine: a Cummins diesel. He performed most of the maintenance himself, and knows engines like the back of his hand, so his expertise proved invaluable here.
15. 1988 Volvo 740 GLE
Vic Dres, a resident of Grover Beach on the Central California coast, bought his 1987 Volvo 740 GLE with the express purpose of hitting 1 million miles. In 2014, Dres passed the mark and declared no intention of stopping. He claimed to have no secret to his success. Other than changing the oil regularly and replacing filters, hoses, and belts, Dres simply drove the car like he expected it to last, and it did. He reached the impossible milestone with the original engine intact.
14. 1989 Saab 900 SPG
Many regret the disappearance of Saab from the auto world, and stories of some of the brand’s epic cars explain why. For example, Wisconsin’s Peter Gilbert drove a 1989 Saab 900 SPG for 1,001,385 miles. He crossed that threshold in 2006 and soon after retired it in the Wisconsin Auto Museum. Only about 7,500 models of the 900 SPG ever made it America, and that one was a keeper.
13. 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE
What’s the right word to describe an early 1970s Mercedes coupe? “Majestic” and “stately” immediately come to mind, but everyone will have their own way of defining this classic Benz era. You might add “bulletproof” to the list as well, as this model ran 1.01 million miles in the hands of Orange County residents George and Luzstella Koschel. When Mercedes learned the Koschels’ 280 had passed a million miles in 2005, the automaker bought the car from them and installed it in the company’s Stuttgart museum.
12. 1994 Honda Accord
Diehards fans of the Honda brand will not be surprised to learn of Accords in the million-mile club. The early 1990s seem to be a particularly good time for the nameplate, as the ’94 Accord EX shows. Driven by a D.C.-area man employed as a route mapper, the classic Honda hit 1.08 million miles within eight years. There was some controversy because the original odometer broke around 400,000 miles, but the replacement was close to 700,000 when the story circulated. That’ll do.
11. 1991 Honda Accord
You figure a car with a ridiculously high mile count would change hands a few times, and this ’91 Accord EX is no exception. Topping 1.16 million miles, it was left to the original owner’s son in his will. This model was from the fourth generation (1989-1993) of Accords, so you can argue Honda showed no letup between models that spanned from the late 1980s all the way to the end of the fifth gen’s run (1997).
10. 2006 Ford F-250
Work trucks form an impressive sub-group in this list of vehicles. In this case, a 2006 Ford F-250 blew past the million-mile mark in about four years. Phil Marsella, the Florida man who owned this model, drove his truck an average of 200,000 miles a year. The original engine died after 400,000 miles, but the one he salvaged from a junkyard ran another 800,000, allowing him to hit 1.2 million in just five years. At last check, it was still running, so Marsella may have reached 2 million.
9. 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
Ford and Ram have vehicles in the mileage Hall of Fame, but Chevy has a few too. Hugh and Tammy Pennington, a couple who bought a Silverado 3500 HD to use after Hurricane Katrina, ran their truck to 1.22 million miles in six years. Their secrets were nothing revolutionary, however. The Penningtons simply changed the oil after every 5,000 miles and made sure to wash the truck after a long haul — especially when they drove through snow and heavily salted roads.
8. 1966 Mercedes-Benz 250SE
Mercedes coupes from the ’60s and ’70s often turned out to be as bulletproof as they looked. In 2014, the owner of a ’66 Benz 250SE coupe contacted the High Mile Club to say he had crossed 1.28 million miles. The original owner made it to 877,000 before passing away. His heirs ran it another 350,000 miles before selling it to its most recent owner, who had Mercedes certify it with its million-mile badge, affixed to the car’s grille. Like some other luxury models here, this car was babied for much of its life, and it worked.
7. 1991 Chevy Silverado
Frank Oresnik had a job delivering steak and seafood to Chicago every day from Wisconsin, so in 1996 he bought a ’91 Chevy Silverado with 41,000 miles on the odometer. By 2008, he had run his truck past a million miles. A few years later, he hit the 1.29 million mark. Oresnik said he got a head start from the original owner who’d put Zeibart undercoating on its carriage. The rest was maintenance and care, and its original engine made it the entire way.
6. 1983 Lincoln Town Car
Chet Belisle is a Kansas man with a penchant for driving cross-country or just around town when he gets bored. He managed to run his ’83 Lincoln Town Car 1.3 million miles before CNN caught up with him for a checkup in 2009. (Watch him brag about 22 mpg and other feats.) 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.
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