Editor’s note: I asked retired science teacher Irv Gordon to give a first-hand look at how he maintains his 1966 Volvo P1800 with 2.6 million miles on it. Below, Irv offers funny anecdotes, talks about how he keeps the car in great shape and philosophizes on life. Enjoy and don’t miss the photo gallery of Irv’s car below.
— John Dodge , editor-in-chief
Keeping a quality car on the road for a long time is no great secret but rather an "attitude" and a conscious effort to continue to do so once the "new car" appeal is over. The biggest hurdle which very few ever think about is buying a new car and what to expect from it. My philosophy is to buy the best quality car one can afford and one that is infinitely comfortable, as the driver can expect to spend a great deal of time in that car, especially with a million or more miles in mind. I purchased my Volvo for these reasons and Volvo’s reputation of safety, strength and durability, especially after my frustrating experience with two domestic manufactured automobiles.
I spent three hours road testing a 1966 Volvo 1800 before I decided to buy it. I bought it because I could find nothing I didn't like about it. The ride was most comfortable, all the controls were user friendly, the car handled just great and the ride was the best I had ever experienced. Most people buy cars as an expedience, to keep up with the folks next door, to show off, or just figuring one feature ... such as fuel economy. They wind up with a car they grow to hate or disrespect and treat like a $20,000-$50,000 piece of junk. They beat on it, slam the doors, rarely if ever clean the car and eat/smoke in the car till it smells like an old movie theater and then decided not to spend any money to service it properly to the point the car begins to break down and the owner feels it is the car's fault. So much for going back into debt to purchase or lease another car and again repeat the cycle.
I try to understand the mechanisms within the car as the designers meant them to be used. I treat the car with respect not only when I am driving it but when it has taken me where I want to go. I don't eat or smoke in the car. I keep it clean under, inside and outside. I service it as the owner's manual called for ... figuring the manual was written by the engineers who built the car ... who knows better than they do?
I like mechanical things such as automobiles. In addition to the P1800, I also own the following: a 2002 C70 Volvo , a 1987 740 Turbo Volvo, a 1929 Packard 7 passenger touring car, a 1923 Model T Ford Fordor Sedan and a 1949 Crosley Hot Shot ... the first American Sports car. They are certainly enough to keep me busy when I