Home Cars 20 Cars That Refused To Die and Passed One Million Miles
Cars

20 Cars That Refused To Die and Passed One Million Miles

Cameron EittreimDecember 15, 2021

The reliability of automobiles has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. Engines are more advanced and designed to run much longer than before. Fluids are also much more advanced as well. Car owners can expect to get a lot more miles out of a vehicle than they used to. There are even cars that refused to die with an insane amount of miles on them.

Of course, that bodes well for the used car market as well. It used to be that when your odometer reached 100,000 miles, you were sweating. But that isn’t the case anymore. We chronicled 20 cars that refused to die and somehow managed to rack up a million miles here.

Guy Newmark's 1964 Porsche 356
Photo Credit: Porsche USA

20: 1964 Porsche 356C

When it comes to interesting cars that have reached the million-mile mark, the Porsche 356C is a prime example. “Now of course a 52-year-old Porsche doesn’t get to 1,000,000 miles without some special attention. Not only has Newmark never missed a 3,000-mile service, but he’s also had the engine rebuilt three times, according to previous coverage. And that kind of dedication only comes from someone who loves their car very much. In the video, Newmark waxes about how it drives and how it looks. He also says he takes a look back at it every time he parks, even after all these years.” – via Autoblog

Guy Newmark's 1964 Porsche 356
Photo Credit: Porsche USA

Naturally, this prime example of a classic Porsche just goes to show you what regular maintenance will do. It also goes to show that the mileage of a car doesn’t necessarily translate to reliability. Cars that are stored for years on end start to break down internally. Even if a car has been preserved, it hasn’t.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

19: 2007 Toyota Tundra

The 2007 Toyota Tundra was a milestone for the brand in a lot of aspects such as its revised exterior styling. This Tundra hit one million miles as seen here. “I heard on the radio that 80% of Toyota’s purchased in the last 20 years were still on the road,” Morvant said. “I needed a truck that was dependable to run as a hotshot, so this was one of those no-brainers.” Then his pal Vic Sheppard offered his advice: get a Tundra. Sheppard also works as a hotshot and his Tundra has never let him down.” – via Car Buzz

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

The Tundra was bought back by Toyota in exchange for a brand-new model. Toyota planned to have its engineers examine it to see what they could do better. Few pickup trucks have managed to hold up as well as this Tundra did. It just goes to show you that even the best engineering cannot guarantee a long-lasting engine. Regular maintenance and care will, however.

Photo Credit: Motor 1

18: 2008 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is naturally one of the most reliable cars on the road. Darrell “Doc” Gould got his Civic over the million-mile mark driving 4000 miles a week. “Doc estimates that he drives about 4000 miles a week, currently splitting the mileage between his Honda Civic and a 2009 Honda Odyssey minivan he uses for larger loads. He spends much of his time driving a route that takes him from his home near Kansas City, Missouri, to St. Louis and Des Moines, Iowa. Doc prefers long hauls to short trips.” – via Consumer Guide

Photo Credit: Motor 1

Doc of course makes a good point about scheduled maintenance on the car. It never pays off to be cheap when it comes to owning a car. Doing the maintenance will save a lot of heartache in the long run. The Civic is probably the most well-known economy car in the world. That obviously helps drivers expect a reasonable amount of reliability.

Photo Credit: Lehman Volvo

17: 1987 Volvo 240

Volvo is a company that built its reputation on safe vehicles yet Volvos are very reliable vehicles as well. Selden Cooper got his Volvo 240 over the million-mile mark in 2012. “In its 26 years on the road, Selden’s 240 has seen its share of bulbs, brakes, and relays. It has had 200 oil changes, 33 sets of spark plugs, 33 engine air filters, and 20 timing belt changes. When the car hit 500,000 miles Lehman Volvo Cars had the car repainted to restore it to the original luster (and to help combat the years of travel on northeast salt-covered winter roads). One thing Selden’s 240 has never had though has been an engine rebuild.” – via Lehman Volvo

Photo Credit: Lehman Volvo

The Volvo 240 was one of the most popular models for the brand. With straightforward styling and a comfortable driving experience, it was a stellar car. The fact that this owner got a million miles out of the 240 goes to show why there are so many of them still on the road. Volvos are an underrated car in a lot of aspects, and the 240 is iconic for its box styling and reasonable performance for its age.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

16: 1996 Dodge Ram

The 1996 Ram changed the game in the pickup truck market. The big-rig styling and powerful Magnum V10s were a massive improvement in styling and performance. Interestingly enough, Dan Edelman was able to get his Dodge Ram over the million-mile threshold. “Dan Edelman’s 1996 Ram truck, listed on the Web site Allpar.com, is a member of an elite club. This diesel-powered pickup has over 1 million miles on it. And, while the transmission has been replaced a few times, the Cummins engine is the same one it left the factory with.” – via CNN Money

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

Getting a million miles out of your pickup truck is a dream for many owners, but it is possible with regular maintenance and care. Likewise, the 1996 Ram is still an icon in the pickup truck industry to this day, offering iconic styling and performance. The Dodge Ram from this generation changed the game with its styling and performance, and the fact that it’s reliable is icing on the cake.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

15: 1988 Volvo 740 GLE

Another interesting Volvo in the company’s long, storied history is the 740 GLE. Vic Dres got his 1988 Volvo 740 GLE over the million-mile mark and continues to drive it. “A Grover Beach man has driven his 1988 Volvo GLE a total of one million miles. Yes, that’s one million with seven digits. You’d be correct in guessing, too, that most mile meters don’t even register that many digits; the feat rolled the odometer of the one million-mile Volvo back to sextuple zeroes. When Vic Dres purchased the 1988 Volvo 740 GLE in 1988, he did so with the very specific goal of hitting the one million mile figure.” – via The News Wheel

Photo Credit: Car Domain

Few cars are as underrated as the Volvo 740 GL. The interesting aspects of the car and its reliability make it an excellent choice on the used car market. Plus, who can go wrong with the iconic Volvo styling? The 740 GLE, known as “the brick,” is one of the most memorable cars on the road today. The value is still very affordable despite the age and relevance of the car.

Photo Credit: Motor 1

14: 1989 Saab 900 SPG

The Saab is another beautiful example of Swedish engineering done right. Much like the Volvo cars of yesteryear, the Saab 900 SPG is a sophisticated blend of performance and reliability. Peter Gilbert got his 1989 Saab 900 SPG over the million-mile mark. “Amazingly, other than a hood replacement and a “few other parts” due to eight deer collisions and a transmission overhaul at 200,000 miles, the vehicle still wears most of its original equipment. Gilbert states that at the 600,000-mile mark it wasn’t using any oil, which he attributes to meticulous maintenance using synthetic fluids. It was then that he thought it might just go a million miles, and it did. Gilbert thinks it might go a million more if it weren’t for the harsh Wisconsin winters that have taken their toll on the frame and body.” – via Auto Blog

Photo Credit: Car Domain

Naturally, most Swedish cars from this era are not as well-put-together as the Saab 900 SPG is. With sleek lines and an interior that still looks great to this day, the Saab 900 SPG is well worth the cost of admission. Saab has always had a special place in the Swedish car industry and the 900 SPG is well worth checking out.

Photo Credit: RM Sotheby’s

13: 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE

It’s a well-documented fact that Mercedes-Benz is a reliable brand. Classic Benz models are well known for racking up high mileage with steady maintenance. George Koschel drove his 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE for 1,019,000 miles. “The latest Mercedes-Benz to be recognized for surpassing the one-million-mile mark is a 1970 280SE acquired for the Mercedes-Benz Museum Collection from its original owners, George and Luzstella Koschel of Orange County, California. The Koschels bought the car new and drove it for 1,019,000 miles.” – via MB USA

Photo Credit: RM Sotheby’s

The 280SE is a well-known luxury car in a lot of collectors circles, and its value has gone up accordingly. Whether you’re new to Mercedes-Benz or you just like the idea of a vehicle eclipsing a million miles, this is one of the most reliable models. When it comes to older Mercedes-Benz models, the 280SE is perhaps the most notable.

Photo Credit: WRAL

12: 2000 Honda Accord

The Accord has always been a perennial sales leader for the brand. Dexter Mills got his 2000 Honda Accord over the million-mile marker in 2019. “I consider myself a fan of many automotive subcultures, but if I’m honest, I think Regular Cars With Super High Mileage might be my favorite. Check out Dexter Mills’ humble 2000 Honda Accord, which turned 1,000,000 this week and still looks pretty decent. The nondescript sixth-gen Accord he’s had since new, has been “to the moon, and back, twice.” Not literally, but, it’s about 250,000 miles to the moon. So. You get it.” – via Jalopnik

Photo Credit: The Drive

Automakers sell you the thought of having a reliable form of transportation. Honda has done that the best. The 2000 Honda Accord was a wonderful example of what happens when you design a car the right way. The quality interior and peppy engine made for a stellar midsize sedan that still looks good to this day.

Photo Credit: The Drive

11: 1990 Honda Accord

When it comes to interesting passenger cars, the Accord has always been a stellar choice. From reliability to the affordable price tag, it’s an excellent choice for almost anyone. “This feat was accomplished by Joe LoCicero of Maine, who has taken fastidious care of his high mileage Honda Accord since he acquired it 15 years ago. In terms of servicing his vehicle, LoCicero has followed the owner’s manual and maintenance schedule to a T, according to Honda. He checks fluids weekly and changes the oil every 5,000 miles, always using the same brand and making sure to switch the grade of motor oil when the seasons change.” – via Cars.com

Photo Credit: Honda

The high mileage on this Accord was recognized by the brass at Honda for being a piece of positive press. Few cars have managed to influence potential buyers as the Honda Accord has with its stellar reliability and great resale value. The Accord will continue to dominate the used car industry because of its resale value and reliability.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

10: 2006 Ford F-250

We all know that Ford F-Series trucks are renowned for reliability, but Phil Marsella of Florida took it to a whole new level. “Marsella turned the 1-million mile mark on his 2006 Ford F-250 pickup. That sort of mileage adds up to about $67,000 worth of oil changes and wrench-turning on the white, four-wheel-drive truck specially equipped with an air-conditioned dog hauler in place of a bed, according to TCPalm.com. Marsella could have circumnavigated the earth 40 times at the equator on 1-million miles.” – via Sun-Sentinel

Photo Credit: Truck Trend

The F-250 is the larger and heavier-duty Ford pickup truck for consumers that generally do commercial work. Likewise, it’s not uncommon for owners to get a great deal of usage out of these trucks. You still see older generation Ford F-250 models on the road to this day, which is impressive.

Photo Credit: GM Insider

9: 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 3500

The heavy-duty Silverado models are some of the most reliable on the road. After Hurricane Katrina, this couple bought a 2006 Silverado 3500 for hauling FEMA trailers. “The Penningtons are driving their truck on average over 500 miles every day. Tammy uses the truck for work and plays with Hugh, a retired GM Delphi employee. They bought the truck brand new in 2006 while in Georgia to help haul FEMA trailers to areas ravaged by the storm. Years later they are still going as strong as ever, though wear is beginning to show on the truck. They’ve got a little oil leak, so they are keeping an eye on oil levels.” – via Auto Blog

Photo Credit: GM Insider

Aside from the design and comfort of the Silverado, reliability is a strong point of the Chevy brand. The Silverado does a great job of providing a stellar driving experience and long-term reliability. Chevy had built-up the brand quite well over the past couple of decades and the Silverado is right below the F-150 in sales.

Photo Credit: MBUSA

8: 1966 Mercedes-Benz 250SE

The Mercedes-Benz 250SE is one of the most highly regarded luxury cars on the market today. It was one of the first to be sold in America and features various design advancements for its time period. Ben Clopot got his example over the million-mile threshold “I was recently contacted by Ben Clopot, who had recently acquired a 1966 Mercedes Benz 250se Coupe and promptly fell in love with it. He was shocked when he discovered the vehicle had accumulated 1,283,575 miles or just over 2 million Kilometers over its lifetime. He didn’t think much of it until he found our site. I told him that 1.2 million miles on any car was nothing short of miraculous and that I had to know everything about this car.” – via High Mile Club

Photo Credit: MB USA

As we’ve already said, it isn’t a hard feat to get these older Mercedes models over the million-mile mark with routine maintenance. The quality of these older Mercedes-Benz models is what makes them stand out from the crowd. The 250SE is definitely a notable luxury sedan that is worth checking out if you’re in the market.

Photo Credit: NPR

7: 1991 Chevy Silverado

The CK series GM trucks are among the most popular pickup truck models of all-time. Frank Oresnik managed to get his Silverado over the million-mile mark while being interviewed by NPR. “This afternoon, somewhere between Chicago and Shawano(ph), Wisconsin, Frank Oresnik reached a milestone. His truck reached the milestone. It’s a 1991 Chevy Silverado he drives it delivering steaks and seafood north from Chicago. And, today, Frank Oresnik’s odometer approached one million miles.” – via NPR

Photo Credit: NPR

The fact that the Silverado made it over a million miles is a true testament to the fact that routine maintenance is key. The GM 350 V8 is one of the most well-respected engines on the road, and with proper care, you can get a lot of life out of this engine. Needless to say, Oresnik is still driving his Silverado to this day.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

6: 1983 Lincoln Town Car

There was a period when the Lincoln Town Car was the quintessential luxury car on the road. The big American beauty was comfortable and powerful, and part of the reliable panther platform that was shared with the Crown Vic. Chet Belisle passed away in 2013 but before that, he had squeezed a million miles out of his Town Car. “Chet Belisle has a 1983 Lincoln Town Car that he has been driving for the past 25 years. He paid $2,200 for his Lincoln when it was new. It is not surprising that no one will buy it from him now because it has too many miles on it.” – via ABC7 Kansas

Photo Credit: Lincoln

It’s not surprising that this driver got a million miles out of his Town Car because the platform is one of the most reliable in the world. This is why police agencies and taxi cab companies still flock to the panther platform to this day. Even purchasing a used example would be a great investment for someone who wants a long-lasting daily driver.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

5: 1963 Volkswagen Beetle

The original Volkswagen Beetle was an icon of the 1960s and naturally, many baby boomers still own their original Beetles. Albert Klein managed to get his Beetle over the million-mile mark and still keeps it on the road. “The car’s fenders are dented, its upholstery is torn, its paint is chipped and faded. But the one thing you can say for this humble Beetle is that it runs–and runs and runs. After 24 years, seven engines, three transmissions, 150 tires, 35,600 gallons of gas, three sets of wiper blades, and more than $38,000 in maintenance costs, the Pasadena man’s trusty “bug” turned its millionth mile on Tuesday.” – via LA Times

Photo Credit: VW

The simplicity of the air-cooled engine makes the Beetle a breeze to work on. Although the car is old by today’s standards, the amount of available parts is plentiful. It also helps that this original body Beetle was manufactured in Mexico up until recently. This means that you can outfit your bug with modern parts and enhancements.

Photo Credit: Mecum

4: 1963 Plymouth Fury

Plymouth is not a name that comes to mind first when you think of a million-mile vehicle. Nevertheless, Joseph Vaillancourt was on the verge of getting his taxi cab over the million-mile mark. “Just 264 kilometers short of setting the record for mileage on the same car, Joseph Vaillancourt’s never-say-die 1963 Plymouth Fury sedan is headed for the scrap yard. It was smashed by a truck that ran a red light on Wednesday. Vaillancourt had logged an incredible 2.6-million kilometers in the car, and estimates carrying more than 800,000 passengers.” – via CBC

Photo Credit: Mecum

The Fury is one of the most iconic cars on the road. With flowing styling and a powerful V8 engine, few cars have managed to have the same effect on drivers as the Fury did. Resale value on the Plymouth Fury has also been rising dramatically, which is both good and bad for collectors of the car.

Photo Credit: Hyundai USA

3: 2013 Hyundai Elantra

The Elantra has come a long way since it was introduced in the 1990s. The car has become quite the competitor to the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. The reliability is also a strong suit for the Elantra as seen here “We like to drive a lot, but we don’t drive nearly as much as delivery driver Farrah Haines, who drove her 2013 Hyundai Elantra one million miles in just five years. Yes, that’s one million miles, as in 1,000,000, as in 200,000 miles per year, as in an average of 548 miles per day, every day. For reference, the average driver in America clocks 14,000 miles per year.” – via Car and Driver

Photo Credit: Hyundai USA

The folks at Hyundai were so impressed with her story that they rewarded her with a brand new car. It’s a good sign when an automaker is in tune with what the customers are saying about a product. The Elantra is a stellar example of a compact car that’s done right, with plenty of features and comfort for the price.

Photo Credit: Nissan

2: 2007 Nissan Frontier

When it comes to the world of pickup trucks, the Frontier is highly regarded for reliability. Although the platform hasn’t changed since 2005, the truck is still a sales success for the company. Brian Murphy, a delivery driver, got his over the million-mile mark and Nissan rewarded him with a new truck. “If you can put a million miles on a Nissan Frontier, it turns out the automaker will reward you handsomely. Brian Murphy, an independent delivery driver and original owner of the 2007 Nissan Frontier that rolled its odometer past a certified one-million-mile mark earlier this year, took delivery of a brand-new 2020 Frontier at M’Lady Nissan in Crystal Lake, Illinois, the same dealer from which he bought the 2007 model.” – via Motor Trend

Photo Credit: Nissan

Nissan knows how to treat their customers and the Frontier is one of the most popular products of all-time. It will be interesting to see if Brian can get a million miles out of his next Frontier, as the models are almost identical.

Photo Credit: Mitsubishi

1: Almost To A Million Mitsubishi Mirage

Finally, we have a couple in Minnesota who are on their way to reaching the million-mile mark in their Mitsubishi Mirage. Naturally, the automaker got wind of this and rewarded them with a brand-new Mirage. “When it comes to glamorous cars, the Mitsubishi Mirage is perhaps the last thing that comes to mind. With a starting price of $13,995, it’s currently among the cheapest new cars you can buy in America, but the purple Mirage featured here isn’t new. It’s a 2014 model, purchased new by Janice and Jerry Huot in Minnesota who then drove it pretty much nonstop for six years. In that time, the little hatch called Purple Won racked up 414,000 miles.” – via Motor 1

Photo Credit: Mitsubishi

The Mirage has been panned by its critics for having a cheap design and a lack of features. But you can’t argue with those stats and that mileage. For the price tag, the Mirage can provide a lot of years of trouble-free driving for a fraction of the price. Very few new cars can be purchased for an affordable price like this one.

Advertisement
Please wait 5 sec.