Irv Gordon's Biography
On June 30, 1966, the Beatles landed in Tokyo for their concert tour. Mike Tyson was born in Brooklyn. Los Angeles Dodger Sandy Koufax was halfway through pitching his final and finest season. Bonanza was the number one show on TV. And Irv Gordon was in a neighborhood Volvo dealership purchasing a cherry red Volvo P1800, replacing a new car he had recently purchased from another manufacturer that broke down on his drive home from the dealership the day he purchased it.
After buying the Volvo, the Long Island native spent time behind the wheel for the same reasons most people do: to drive back and forth to work (a 125-mile daily round-trip to his job as a science teacher), for fun and for everyday activities. His long commute and his passion for driving caused him to log his first 250,000 miles in less than five years. The engine never failed and the car never required extensive repairs. Gordon lived two blocks from the ocean and drove through salt and snow each winter, but the body never rusted. So he kept driving his car.
Gordon hit 500,000 miles in the mid ‘70s. He celebrated his one-millionth mile in 1987, driving a loop around the Tavern on the Green in New York's Central Park. He retired nine years later and took a part-time job for five years as a quality control technician and service writer at a Volvo dealership. With more time on his hands, he made driving his pastime.
He drove through big cities at night and spent afternoons in small town coffee shops. He made friends across the nation. He became an icon for resiliency and passion for the road. He met Matt Lauer. He hung out with Jon Stewart. He talked cars with Jay Leno and Jim Belushi.
In the mid-90s, the Guinness Book of World Records certified his Volvo for most miles driven by a single owner in a non-commercial vehicle. In March 2002 in a star-studded celebration fitting for New York, he turned his two millionth mile driving down Times Square - a milestone no other individual has accomplished in more than 100 years of automobile manufacturing.
Gordon continues to travel across the country attending various events, including Volvo Club meets, charity events, dealer openings, prestigious car shows, media events and just plain sight-seeing. He spends almost all of his free time traveling around the country and into Canada several times each year. He has also re-visited France, Germany and Australia. He's been featured in hundreds of print, online and broadcast media stories. A team from Google spent time with him, documenting his journey to three million miles.
Despite his advanced age that has slowed his driving in recent years, Gordon expects that he and his Volvo will make it to three million miles by the end of 2013 -assuming, of course, both he and his car can keep up their current pace.
More than 47 years after Gordon took the keys, the car has the same engine, same radio, same axles, same transmission, and of course, the same driver. He is the only person who has ever driven his P1800.