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540,000 miles.

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From the Hartford Current Newspaper:



The first time I spoke to Volvo owner Irv Gordon, he had just passed the two-million-mile mark on his 1966 P1800. Now, he is at the 2.7-million mile reading.


OK, truth in reporting requires me to acknowledge that Gordon is actually 3,000 miles short of that milestone. But when you have driven a car 2,697,000 miles, what's another thousand or three?


With Gordon so close to the 2.7-million mile mark and so many people interested in getting more from the cars and trucks in their family fleet, this seems to be the perfect time to ask what they should do to follow in, if not in his footsteps, then his tire tracks.


Volvo's nearly 3 million mile man did not list oil changes or any magic additives first when asked for advice. Rather, he suggested that what is really required is that you buy a vehicle that you really like. "If you don't like it, you're not going to care for it.


"And, if you're not going to take care of it," he continued, "you've just taken whatever the price is, $20,000, $30,000, and put that money in the toilet."


If you really like a car, you won't mind doing the necessary repairs. Letting a car go is usually the first step toward its destruction.


Early in my automotive writing career, I received a letter from a Pontiac owner who said:


"My Bonneville has just passed the 140,000 mile mark and is running beautifully, but I figure that it's near the end of its life.


"Would it be OK to back off on maintenance and regular oil changes and switch to bulk [really cheap] oil to save money?"


My answer: "If you treat it like junk, you will soon have junk. Keep maintaining it as if it were new and it will last a lot longer."


Several years later the writer dropped me another note saying he had taken my advice and that the car had 220,000 miles on it and was still going strong.


As for Gordon's 2.7-million-mile Volvo, he just had the engine rebuilt. "I had it done once at 680,000 miles. I was told that there was nothing wrong but I didn't want to push my luck. I was getting nervous."


This time, there was no doubt that the motor needed restoring, he said. "The engine had 2,010,000 miles on it since the last rebuild, so I just had it done again.


"I knew it was getting tired. Every time I went to California and had to go over those mountains, in the Rockies, I was in first and second gear. I was going slower than those trucks going 25 miles per hour. "


Now Gordon's Volvo is back to its peppy ways. He called the rebuild "preventive maintenance."


Gordon's other thoughts:


The best road food comes from the Waffle House, a chain of diners in the South. The bad habits he sees in other drivers that he would most like banished are tailgating and the failure to signal.


If only drivers used the same courtesy on the road as they show people in person.


As for Gordon, if he treats his car in the same gentle, outgoing and friendly manner as he treats other people - even writers asking him questions he has probably had to field countless times before - his Volvo will probably last forever.

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