Volvo P1800 turns 50, one owner passes 2.9 million miles

ivr Gordon's 1966 Volvo P1800S

Volvo is the feature of two milestones this year, with two automotive celebrities hitting new marks. Irv Gordon of East Patchauge is a retired science teacher, and a owner of a 1966 Volvo P1800 that he has driven over 2.9 million miles. The car itself is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Irv Gordon is honoring the cars birthday with several appearances at various events with his own P1800. So far he has attended the TechnoClassica show in Essen, Germany, and will take the trip to Australia in September for another affair.

Gordon has more in store, and says “In honor of the P1800’s 50th anniversary, I’d like to reaffirm my goal of reaching three million miles within the next two years,” and still holds great admiration for his car, mentioning “Recently my P1800 has been through some terrible weather, and never complained once. What a great automobile! Hitting 2.9 million miles is a true testament to Volvo and those who designed it.”

His story starts back in 1966, when he drove his P1800 off the lot and kept going, racking up 1,500 miles in the first two days. Thanks to a daily commute of 125 miles round-trip, he managed to put 50,000 miles on the car in the first decade.

Volvo’s two door P1800 has remained the brand’s most renowned model, worldwide, since its inception in 1961. The vehicle was in development for four years and produced for 12. The vehicle has international roots, with planning in Sweden, design in Italy, produced in Britain, and, finally, unveiled in Belgium. Great success in the U.S. followed.

Its intended purpose was to lure buyers into the Volvo showrooms. The design was actually then-Volvo President Gunnar Engallau’s son’s, that the president slipped in last minute at the meeting to select a proposal. Pelle was a recent graduate from New York’s Pratt Institute, with a degree in industrial design.

He didn’t receive credit for his work until years later due to the secretive manner in which his design was presented. Yet, the credit is well deserved, designing a vehicle that sold beyond its initial top of the line, niche market classification. Its classic and sporty lines were well received before the car’s release and long after.

– By: Alexandra Koken