We are time keepers. Everything is about time.
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
Those are not my words, but from a very old book about how life should be lived. A speedometer is about time; a time measurement of driving. Irv Gordon’s 1966 Volvo P1800 is about to turn 3,000,000 miles. No other car in the world has ever gone that far and probably no other car ever will. Especially considering how few mechanical repairs he has done to keep her running. In a simple sense his car’s record is a testament to Swedish engineering: using technology to make something better than anyone else.
If Irv’s speedometer could talk, just think of all the roads it could talk about, of all the people Irv has befriended over his 3 million miles, at every gas station, Waffle House, and road side tourist trap he rolled into. All the dust he’s washed off from 48 U.S. states, all the different road salts from nasty winter drives just to be somewhere he promised. I wonder how many sponges he has used to clean her and how many bugs met their demise on her windshield?
She has traveled roads in Europe and Canada. From the super smooth California 405, to the stunningly beautiful US 1 from Cambria to Carmel, and to the moutain climbs like the Eisenhower Tunnel at 11,158 feet above sea level. Irv’s seemingly endless polishing of his Volvo P1800 for auto shows, club shows, VCOA and VSA meets, TV interviews and photo shoots. His religious service shop visits for tune-ups and oil changes at the same Volvo dealership where he bought his car more than 45 years ago. Remember cars from that time were not expected to make it past 100,000 miles, and we used lots of carbon steel without much undercoating, so Irv’s P1800 has had some body work every couple of hundred thousand miles. And to fix the dented sheet metal from where a truck backed into her, hooked her onto his bumper and drove away towing poor Irv in his Volvo.
All the while, both car and Irv tirelessly traveling, most times at the request of someone to be somewhere at an appointed time. And his Smith’s speedo just clicking away those miles and memories.
If you have never seen the inside of an old speedo, it’s kind of cool. A bunch of plastic and metal gears held in by tiny metal rods nestled in a grey metal fixture. All of its gears rotate at different speeds like a very primitive pocket watch. The 1/10 mile numbers turn rather quickly at 60 mph verses the far left one that gets renewed every 100,000. It would be interesting to compare how sun faded the 1/10 is to the 100,000 numbers. I remember when our Volvo 140′s speedo registered 999,999 miles in 1967 I believe. We were amazed the Swedes actually believed this car would travel 1 million miles and included a speedo to track it. Guess they proved us wrong.
In September of 2013, Irv’s Volvo P1800 will turn its historic three millionth mile in Alaska, one of two U.S. states Irv has not yet visited and a fitting backdrop for this historic milestone. Volvo is inviting everyone to join in the journey. Reason #1? It’s a Volvo. Reason #3,000,000 – Irv Gordon. The terrain in between is where you and all Volvo fans come in. No two journeys are the same. No two speedometers are the same. We all have our reasons for believing in Volvo cars.
Now you can share your experiences and discoveries from journeys far away or close to home on a special online map Volvo owners are creating together. Irv’s story is a part of the map, and we need yours too. Enter yours at www.3millionreasons.com.
For more info about Three Million Reasons to Believe and Irv’s journey to 3 million miles, check out the press release below.
So while Irv’s sweet Volvo P1800 is less than 5,000 miles from doing the impossible, perhaps we should have her speedo bronzed, like we did with our children’s first shoes.
Posted in 3 Million Miles, 3 Million Reasons to Believe, Irv Gordon | 3 Comments »
Long Island Man’s Volvo Will Reach Three Million Miles in 2013
Irv Gordon, Record-Breaking Driver of a 1966 Volvo P1800, Aims to Reach Ultimate Driving Milestone
Visit www.3MillionReasons.com to Submit Your Reason to Believe
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (June 18, 2013) – In a journey that has lasted nearly half a century, spanned the globe and elicited awe from generations of car lovers, Long Island’s Irv Gordon has a phenomenal achievement in his sight: driving 3,000,000 miles in the same car – a shiny, red 1966 Volvo P1800.
When he drove off the lot in 1966, Gordon began a movement. That movement continues to grow through the collective experience and passion of current Volvo owners. As Gordon approaches the milestone, Volvo Cars of North America (VCNA) is bringing the nation along for the journey with a special campaign in the months ahead. Consumers can visit 3MillionReasons.com for additional information about Gordon’s story and a map and image gallery from his road trips. Volvo lovers can also submit their own reason to believe.
“It’s not about getting to the three million miles; it’s about the trips that got me to the three million miles,” Gordon said. “I never had a goal to get to one million, to two million. I just enjoyed driving and experiencing life through my Volvo.
“The best way to explore America is by car,” Gordon added. “I challenge everyone to go out and see as much as possible. Find your own journey and reason to believe because you only have one life to live. No matter how many roads I’ve been on, there’s always one I haven’t taken. That’s what makes it exciting.”
Gordon, a 73-year-old retired science teacher from Patchogue, N.Y., holds the Guinness Book of World Records recognition for most miles driven by a single owner in a non-commercial vehicle, and has driven more than 2.99 million miles in his shiny red Volvo.
“I bought my Volvo P1800 on a Friday, and immediately fell in love,” Gordon recalled. “I couldn’t stop driving the car. It was a long holiday weekend, and I brought the car back to the dealership the following Monday for its 1,500-mile service.”
With a 125-mile round-trip daily commute, a fanatical dedication to vehicle maintenance and a passion for driving, Gordon logged 500,000 miles in 10 years.
Besides being a Volvo, one of the main reasons the car has lasted so long is that Gordon has brought his P1800 to the same certified Volvo technician for more than 15 years. Nino Gambino, a technician with an “A” rating at Volvoville in Huntington, N.Y., the same dealership where Gordon purchased his car in 1966, said, “Because Irv follows the owner’s manual and truly cares for and loves his car, I have no doubt he’ll reach three million. Irv always says he takes better care of the car than himself! And he’s fun to ride with on trips because you don’t need a map.”
In 1998 with 1.69 million miles, Gordon made the Guinness Book of World Records for most miles driven by a single owner in a non-commercial vehicle. In 2002, he drove the car’s two-millionth mile down Times Square to international media attention. For more information on Gordon’s journey, visit 3millionreasons.com/timeline.
As Gordon points his car to its three-millionth mile, “I’m realizing this will be a record that no one will surpass,” he said. “So, these next few thousands of miles will be special and sentimental for me. I’m looking forward to visiting my favorite places in big, beautiful America – from national parks to roadside cafes, from the Pacific Coast Highway to small roads that are miles from the Interstate. Send me an invite and maybe I’ll meet you for a cup of coffee.”
Based on his calculations, Gordon plans to reach three million miles in Alaska this September. America’s last frontier is one of two U.S. states Gordon has never visited and a fitting backdrop for his three million mile moment.
“For every mile Irv has logged in his Volvo, there have been just as many reasons why he’s been able to do it – from his meticulous care, on-schedule oil changes and his safe driving practices – all the way to Volvo’s legendary attention to engineering,” said John Maloney, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. “A distant predecessor to today’s models, the Volvo P1800 and Irv are the living embodiment that Volvos are enduring and designed around you. We look forward to following him on this journey, and finding ways to bring our customers and car enthusiasts everywhere along for the ride.”
Here’s the scoop from WardsAuto:
John Maloney, Volvo | 7 Comments »
Volvo Not Quitting U.S., North American Chief Says
Jun. 6, 2013
Herb Shuldiner | WardsAuto
The auto maker plans to introduce four facelifted vehicles later this year as ’14 models: the S60, XC60, S80 and XC70, which represent 83% of U.S. sales. “There’s no signal that we’re lessening our pace here,” John Maloney says.
NEW YORK – John Maloney, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, reassures dealers that the Swedish importer is staying put in the U.S.
Concerns about the Chinese-owned auto maker’s future here arose following The Wall Street Journal’s republication of a blog contending Volvo has insufficient resources to be a viable player in the low-end luxury segment, and should follow Suzuki’s lead in quitting the U.S. market.
Maloney tells WardsAuto in a telephone interview that Volvo is introducing four facelifted vehicles and a new generation of four 4-cyl. engines. The auto maker also has committed to a 25% increase in its marketing budget and a 20% “competitive” increase in incentives.
Many of Volvo’s 312 U.S. dealers have invested in expensive facilities upgrades ranging from complete ground-up replacements to renovations of existing stores. “They were glad to hear” the auto maker remains committed to this market, Maloney says.
The executive is encouraged by sales of the S60 and XC60 last month, which he called the two models’ best May in their history.
Revamped S60, XC60, S80 and XC70 models, which represent 83% of Volvo’s U.S. sales, will be introduced later this year as ’14 models. “There’s no signal that we’re lessening our pace here,” Maloney says.
The auto maker plans to replace its flagship XC90 cross/utility vehicle in 2015, making its debut as a ’16 model.
The new generation of 4-cyl. engines also will debut later this year. The turbocharged powerplants will deliver 15% more fuel economy than the models they replace. Maloney promises consumers will not be able to tell the difference between the new 4-cyl. mills and V-6s, but he declines to reveal horsepower or other specifications of the new engines.
Volvo will sell only gasoline-fueled vehicles here, while offering diesel versions in Europe.
The auto maker has suffered from a number of changes in its executive ranks over the past year, including the replacement of its chairman in Sweden and the recent departure of global marketing chief Doug Speck.
It hasn’t helped that Li Shu Fu, owner of parent company Zhejiang Geely, has criticized the design of Volvo’s vehicles, particularly the interiors.
“It feels too Scandinavian,” he said during a March interview on Swedish television network SVT Rapport, raising a chorus of denials from Volvo management that any differences exist between the Chinese parent and the brand’s Swedish designers.
Maloney declines to get involved in this issue, because he only has responsibility for the U.S. But, he notes, “Design is not a barrier in the U.S. for us.”
Volvo’s challenge is to get on more shopping lists. The most cross-shopped brand against Volvo in the U.S. is Audi, followed by BMW. Few Volvo buyers consider Mercedes, Maloney says.
“We’re on the right shopping list, but we need to get on more shopping lists.”
My Volvo, a PV444, early ’58 was purchased from a used car lot on Hawthorne Blvd in Torrance, CA. In 1963 a used car was Hudson Terraplane, Packard with dual side mounts, DKW with a two stroke engine, Simca, Hilman Minx, Jag 120, TR2, Lincoln Zephyr, well you get the idea. So dad would not let me buy any of those sweet cars. Instead, I sort of went behind his back and bought a little car from Sweden. His only comment was, “I thought they made watches.” Such was life in black and white.
So this little Volvo was Black, I mean really Black. That was until a few days later after a good washing and polishing, it was not Black but Midnight Blue (code 31). I was floored. The color was beautiful, and the paint was very hard, which meant it never faded and was super easy to polish.
Fast forward to today – we have a guest blogger who hails from the UK where the right side of a road is the left side. Richard Tipper sent photos of an XC60 he polished up and was so impressed with our body work, he wrote to us and we asked him to share his story on our blog. Now Richard is not a backyard detail-man, he has been doing this for years. In fact, in the last 24 years, he has detailed more than 25,000 cars. He even has his own wax product.
Here is Richard’s story:
Following a telephone conversation with a long standing client of mine regarding the detailing that needed to be carried out on his Porsche Carrera GT it was mentioned that he’d like his wife’s Volvo XC60 done too. The car was used as a daily driver and hadn’t been cleaned for quite some time. Swirls and fine scratches had started to appear in the paint; these had undoubtably been inflicted by the local hand car wash who occasionally washed the car with their grit filled sponges.
For the past 24 years, on a day-to-day basis, I find myself working on some incredibly rare cars including Vintage, Classics, Super-cars and Hyper-cars. Therefore I valued the experience I could gain from detailing the Volvo.
The XC60 was booked in for a Full Enhancement Detail which would involve me going right through the car from top to bottom. The paint would get machine polished and the interior fabrics and leather would be shampooed and treated. After the outside had been decontaminated by a good thorough wash and clay bar, I started to machine the paint. The aim of this process is to attempt to remove fine scratches from the surface of the clear coat by polishing it away. Included in the ‘Enhancement’ is what I consider to be the first stage of machining. More aggressive ‘Paint Correction’ is achieved by further stages of heavier machining or even in extreme cases Wet Colour Sanding.
Black is without a doubt the most popular colour to require an Enhancement given the depth of colour and high level of reflectivity, it often emphasises all the minor imperfections. Below is an example:
This shows how a badly scratched black paint surface can become almost completely non-reflective and totally lose its depth. Here is another extreme case:
Thankfully the Volvo XC60 only had minor surface scratches compared to the examples above. I was very impressed by the quality of paint applied to the Volvo and it wasn’t long before I’d managed to machine it and expose the original finish and even improve on how it left the factory:
Now fully ‘Enhanced’ all that remained and prevented the reflection from being crystal clear was the Orange Peel which is a result of the uneven finish given by solvent based clear coats. This can be flattened back by wet sanding, however this wasn’t the task in hand for today.
The fully enhanced paint was then protected by my own unique hybrid wax formula which will soon be launched in the UK. I had the wax blended to my own specific specifications – it contains 66% pure white Carnauba and PTFE for added durability. It is aptly named ‘Perfection Valet Wax’ and is available soon.
The end result on the outside of the Volvo XC60:
I then needed to tackle the inside. To be fair to the owner it had been very well looked after inside and only really required a light shampooing. Instead of just leaving sporadic hoover marks in the carpet pile I prefer to go up and down uniformly in the same way you’d cut a lawn. It proves very popular with my clients and always attracts lots of positive comments:
All in all I learned a lot from my experience detailing the Volvo and it must be said that they’ve gone right up in my estimations. I was very impressed by not only how well the paint had been applied but also by the overall quality of the whole car’s package. Given the transformation, my client’s wife has decided to keep her car and has fallen in love with it once again.Please feel free to follow our work on Twitter: @Perfectionvalet
Detailers Since 1989
I asked Richard what he thought about Volvo’s interior/exterior fit and finish since he is an expert. I jokingly mentioned that Irv Gordon’s P1800 was nearing 3 million miles and maybe he should hook up with Richard (it was clearly a joke because Irv keeps his P1800 is excellent condition at all times). Here is what he said:
Sadly I don’t get much opportunity to detail high mileage Volvos, but in the last 24 years, with more than 25,000 car cleans, valets and details my potions and cloths have graced a few.
I recall watching the 850 T5 racing in the British Touring car championships and instantly falling in love with it. That moment in time proved that Volvo did indeed have a sense of humour and it surely proved to be a great publicity stunt?The 80′s and early 90′s Volvo wasn’t a car I liked it must be said. The boxy, heavy looking cars had little attractiveness for me other than Volvo’s continuing focus and commitment to safety.
It’s a very different story today though. Whilst Volvo cars remain the safest cars on the road they’ve also clawed back some points within the design studio. Sleek, aerodynamic shapes, especially in the coupes have returned, and the C30 T5 R-Design is a force to be reckoned with.
In terms of interior trim, shut lines and general build quality I’ve always found that Volvos are up there with the market leaders and in some cases eclipses them. The paint quality on some modern German cars is simply shocking with their ‘Gun finish’ solvent clear coats.
All in all in my recent experience with Volvo has been a good one and I hope they continue to design and build a car for all conditions, driving styles and generations.
Our exclusive use of water based paints started many years ago. I remember seeing a “test lab” where we painted cars. At the time, every paint was done with nasty solvents. Back then the idea of using water was rather clever. Made our environment a tad bit better.
Oh, and now for the legal disclaimer: I do not get free wax samples, nor do I endorse Richard’s detailing process, but he seems to know his stuff.
danPosted in XC60 | 6 Comments »
Our friends at Polestar have a treasure trove of beautiful Volvos, and to be fair, a few other marks of racing cars as well. While the author from Smoking Tire, Josh Keddie, comments about the BTCC being perhaps the coolest, you will notice there is no 850 BTCC wagon in his collection. Well, that is not quite true. When BTCC officials had enough of our Swedes beating the pants off other competitors in nothing less than a “Nanny’s car,” we were forced to change to an 850 Sedan. OOOOH but those Swedes are clever. They sharpened their metal shears, lit up their torches and made the wagon into a sedan… literally.
So what we have with an 850 BTCC sedan is two race cars in one. Now that is cool.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
Spied by Matthew Coluccio (our son and V50 owner) in SoHo, NYC last week.
danPosted in S60 | No Comments »
Forbes.com recently published an article about fun/FAST cars under $50k. The 2013 Volvo S60 R-Design isn’t the very fastest, but at 5.3 seconds 0-60, as far as daily drivers go, my bet is we’re the most stylish and comfortable. And I believe the safest. Just the modern, Scandinavian design alone suggests something bad is under that hood and can handle whatever the road can dish out. Wonder if police get a hard time from their chief for pulling over a fast Volvo?
danPosted in S60 R-Design | 2 Comments »
Caution: Before you start short changing your kids lunch money, cashing in all your soda bottles and getting your Ebay account in order, this first Polestar Production is bound for Australia. Why? Seems a Volvo means something different down there and is often unfairly compared to BMW M series and Mercedes-Benz AMG, so they need a fighter ship to go head-to-head with those Germans. When will we get it? I just do not know at this point. BUT we will absolutely keep you informed about what is happening, along with a time table if possible.
Most of you know the Swedes are about engineering, okay, and styling, but more like subtle engineering. When we had R-Sport way back, gosh probably before many of you were in diapers, and Volvo was Bolbo, we had R-Sport. It was a skunk works kind of operation run by Gunner Anderson, a wonderfully nice gentleman and one wicked rally driver. I had the privilege of being chauffeured by him around the Hällered test track rally section. What he could do with a 544 was legendary. Only Eric Carlsson from SAAB was his equal.
Honest, it was a skunk works shop. I remember ugly pink/beige buildings away from the factory floor and HQ in Gothenburg, sometime around 1972. So anyway, back to Swedish engineering. Swedes were working with B18 and B20, rock solid 5-main bearing 4-cyl engines. Cylinder head flow was really good with our Staged engines and we had one wicked set of headers. Many people tried to build headers, but about the only one who came close was Richard Gordon up at IPD in Portland, OR. Long before computers, math was by slide rule.
So now we have morphed R’s to Polestar’s skunk works. Cool.
Here’s the press release from VCC:
Introducing the world-first production version of the Volvo S60 Polestar
Developed from 17 years of motorsport experience, and sharing DNA with the Volvo S60 Polestar Concept Car, the first road car from Polestar to be put into production is here – the Volvo S60 Polestar.
“We have built a car that we, as car enthusiasts, want to drive,” says Christian Dahl, Managing Director of Polestar. “This is a driver’s car, bringing out the very best of the already competent Volvo S60 chassis with our experience and technology from motorsport.
“We received a fantastic response to our Volvo C30 and S60 Polestar concept cars, so we are very happy to now introduce our first production car to the Australian market. This is an important step forward for Polestar, one that promises an exciting future.”
Australia pilot market for limited edition project
A limited production run has been developed exclusively for the Australian market as a pilot project, with the first cars being delivered to customers in late June 2013. Introduction of the Volvo S60 Polestar to further markets is under investigation pending the response of the Australian introduction.
“The Australian market for performance cars is, and has always been, strong,” says Matt Braid, Managing Director of Volvo Cars Australia. “We are delighted to be able to offer our customers the Volvo S60 Polestar, a car more than capable of getting into the thick of the action in this competitive segment of the market.
“The work done by Polestar on the S60 is impressive to say the least – they have transformed the already fun to drive Volvo S60 into a great handling driver’s car.”
Extensive chassis development – by racing drivers
Key to the development of the Volvo S60 Polestar was the extensive work done on the chassis over thousands of test kilometers in Europe – from the fast autobahns in Germany to the twisty roads of southern Spain, and the freezing cold of northern Sweden.
Volvo Polestar Racing driver Robert Dahlgren, a 33-year-old Swede with 10 years as a Volvo factory racing driver under his belt, has been an integral part of the development work.
“The Volvo S60 Polestar is a car that we are truly proud of, our first step to a production car available to the customers,” said Robert Dahlgren, Volvo Polestar Racing driver.
“We have taken the best bits of the standard S60 T6 and our S60 Polestar Concept Car, creating a vehicle that puts a smile on your face when you drive it over your favourite twisty road. At the same time, it is more than capable of everyday driving, too.
“This is, in my eyes, a very good combination of the Volvo and Polestar core values: safety and performance.”
Cutting-edge technology straight from the racetrack
Just as important as the men and women from Polestar who developed the car is the technology underneath it.
The Volvo S60 Polestar shares technology from the Polestar racing cars, like dampers from Öhlins, high capacity brakes, and the extensively developed, highly-tuned chassis.
A new aerodynamic package has also been developed, including a front splitter, rear wing and diffuser – all having been tweaked and modified in the Volvo Car Group wind tunnel in collaboration with the Volvo Research and Development team.
The six-cylinder turbo-charged Volvo T6 engine has been optimised by Polestar with a bigger turbo, new intercooler, revised engine mapping and racing exhaust to produce 350bhp and 368 foot pounds. The S60 Polestar accelerates from 0-100km/h in just 4.9 seconds, via a Polestar-tuned six-speed automatic gearbox – which also features a launch control system – and a Polestar-tuned Haldex 4WD system. The car is governed to a top speed of 250km/h.
- 0-100 km/h 4.9 sec
- Top speed 250 km/h – limited
- 6-cylinder inline T6 engine, 2953 cc
- 257kw (350bhp) @ 5700 rpm
- 500+Nm @ 2800-4750rpm
- Max 6500 RPM
- Polestar engine software
- New Borg Warner turbo
- New intercooler
- 2.5″ stainless full-flow exhaust system with 3.5″ tail pipes.
- Polestar Öhlins, 2-way adjustable shock absorbers
- Upgraded springs
- o 60N/mm front, 65N/mm rear. (80% stiffer than stock)
- Upgraded stabilizers front and rear
- Upgraded rear tie blades
- Upgraded top mount in front and rear
- Upgraded toe link arms in rear
- Strut brace with carbonfiber enforcement
- 235/40R19, Michelin Pilot Super Sport
- Bespoke Polestar rims, 8×19″ ET51
- 1684kg – same as standard S60 T6 R-Design
- AWF21 automatic gearbox
- o Launch control
- o Modified transmission software for faster shifts and launch control
- o Modified AWD software for more rear torque
- o 336×29 mm ventilated discs
- o Jurid 958 performance brake pad
- o 302×22 mm ventilated discs
- o HP2000 Brembo performance brake pads
- New Polestar front splitter corners
- New Polestar rear spoiler
- New Polestar diffuser
- Polestar door trims
- Polestar badge on front grille
- Polestar badge on boot
- Polestar gear shift knob
- Polestar badge on engine
- Polestar limited edition plate on door sills and steering wheel
- Black outside mirror covers
Great news on hump day.
danPosted in Polestar | 7 Comments »
Why? It’s a game my wife and I play. Can we get get in and out for under $200? Never happened, but that is the challenge. We have the best intentions just to get yogurt and a few other staples, but there is always something jumping out that screams “Buy ME.” So we do and we never win. Recently, they had an awesome deal on fresh Florida strawberries and we were out of Jalsberg cheese and…well, we went over $200.
Here’s one Swede deal for those thinking about a new Volvo. For some time now we have sold cars through Costco and frankly, we did well. I suspect their shoppers are very much Volvo thinkers. In the old days, the men probably would have worn jackets with elbow patches and smoked pipes, and the ladies with cotton summer dresses and sun bonnets.
This is from Costco’s press release: “The Volvo Limited-Time Offer is not the first collaborative effort by the Costco Auto Program and Volvo. The companies came together in the winter of 2007 for a holiday promotion on all XC90 models, and have since joined forces four more times to bring exclusive offers to Costco members. However, the current promotion is the first to include Volvo’s entire lineup of new 2013 and 2014 models; vehicle selection for the previous offers included one to three models.”
Just to show one of our Swedes for sale.
danPosted in General | 2 Comments »