Guinness World Record holder Irvin “Irv” Gordon (76) recently visited classic Volvo car enthusiasts at Volvo’s Johannesburg-based Tom Campher Motors dealership. Officially recognised for the most miles driven by a single owner of a non-commercial vehicle, the New York-based retired science teacher has driven his original 1966 Volvo P1800S coupe over five million kilometres.
A guest of Castrol, Volvo’s global lubricant partner, his visit included discussions with local classic Volvo owners as part of a Castrol film project about the special relationships that people develop with cars – something that is particularly prevalent in the classic Volvo community. Car care and proper maintenance was also part of the mission – Gordon’s P1800S has only ever been serviced with genuine and original Volvo parts and Castrol motor oils, which he cites as being the key factor in keeping the P1800’s engine running smoothly – it’s never once broken down since he bought it new in June 1966.
His striking red Coupe, which still has its original engine and gearbox, has covered a distance equivalent to 127 laps around the world, or six round-trips to the moon and back – and it’s still going strong.
Launched in 1961 and going on to be one of Volvo’s most iconic models, the P1800 Coupe continues to inspire the brand’s latest products, the latest of which is the new Volvo S90 – its concave grille having been directly inspired by the P1800.
Gordon is a huge advocate for proper car maintenance and using the best quality products. In his film, he speaks to like-minded South Africans to find out what maintenance and car care means to them.
“I’ve had a great time in South Africa. It has been wonderful talking to people who love and take special care of their cars because they want to keep them for longer,” says Gordon.
Gordon’s road trips have seen him rack up astonishing figures over the last 50 years:
- He’s gone through over 427 000 litres of petrol, almost 3 300 litres of oil and performed 907 oil changes
- He has travelled over 170 000 km per year since retiring in 1996
- His Volvo’s odometer currently stands at 5 111 238 km and he has no intentions of slowing down