Irv Gordon, who drove his 1966 Volvo over 3 million miles, dead at 78

Irv Gordon, a New York schoolteacher who became world famous for driving his 1966 Volvo P 1800 S over 3 million miles, died on Thursday at age 78.

The Long Islander was traveling in China at the time of his death.

Gordon has been a cult hero among Volvo fans for decades, having set the world record for most miles driven by a car’s original owner in 1998 when his red coupe broke the 1.69 million-mile mark, thanks to his 125-mile daily commute and frequent road trips.

The odometer hit 2 million in 2002, and then 3 million while he was driving through Alaska in 2013. Gordon took the car to all 49 of the continental United States and across Europe, but never made it to Hawaii.

Gordon religiously maintained the car and only had the engine rebuilt twice, the last time in 2011. It had over 3.4 million miles on it when he showed up at the Volvo Club of America annual meet in Vermont this past September, according to Hemmings.

(UPDATE: Gordon's representative said that the milage was 3,260,257 as of October.)


In his later years, Gordon regularly teamed up with Volvo for events and became a promotional partner of Castrol oil, which he said was the only brand he’d ever used.

Gordon once told the New York Post that he offered to sell the car back to Volvo for $1 per mile, but they didn't take him up on it.

Gordon is survived by two daughters and three granddaughters.

One of his daughters, Danielle, posted to Facebook from her home in Argentina that he’d messaged her the night before his death and said he was having the time of his life.

She added that she wasn’t very involved in his day to day life, however, and was asking his friends for help in finding a lawyer to deal with his legal affairs.

This story has been updated with additional details about Gordon's surviving family.