Putting a million miles under your tyres is easy, as long as you are kind to your car and most important of all, you own the right car.
A few years back a traveling salesman, Peter Gilbert, was able to put 1,001,385 miles in his 1989 Saab 900. He then donated it to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum after Saab verified the mileage.
All he did was regularly service the car, change the tyres every 45,000 miles and rebuild the gearbox at 200,000 miles. The Saab even survived eight head-on collisions with errant deers. Not surprisingly, Gilbert replace his faithful old Saab, with another one that had rather less than 1m miles on the clock.
This got me thinking – which cars could you buy and rely on to be around when their odometers click onto 1,000,000? It took Gilbert 17 years to pile on those miles, so which cars could we be driving in 2031? Here are my predictions:
If it came down to the survival of the fittest, then you can’t buy better than the utterly indestructible Landcruiser. When the going gets rough over the coming decades, as it certainly will, with road repair budgets cut to the absolute minimum, then the Landcruiser can certainly cope. Plus there is bags of room inside for the whole family, the dogs and all their rubbish. This is an off-roader which can cope with the very long haul.
If a Landcruiser is a tad too agricultural for your automotive sensibilities, then don’t worry because those nice people at Toyota have their top-of-the-range limousine to get you comfortably through the next decade. The huge V8 under the bonnet of the LS430 is under-stressed and whisper quiet and is unlikely to need anything more than the odd oil change. There are lots of electronics on board, but Toyota’s are made from sterner stuff. Don’t worry – you are being wafted around in a Lexus.
Any Mazda would do really, but an MX-5 is huge fun to drive and will never bore you in the coming decades. It also won’t break down. A non-contact engine means that even if the worst happens then all you have to do is buy a new rubber cambelt. If only British sports cars had been built to this standard. You won’t find any Lotus Elans or MGBs with a million miles, but a Mazda MX-5 is as close to a dead cert as you can get.
The tragedy of all Morgans is that they don’t get used enough, but we think that rather than covering a few summer miles each year, it could easily cope with the daily grind. After all, the mechanicals are modern and should last the course as will the aluminium panels. The wood frame of the Morgan 4/4 is flexible and with copious applications of Ronseal should survive. The great thing is Morgans have a habit of maintaining their value. A million-mile Moggie, we think, could well be worth a million.
You really couldn’t find much less of a car and with a reliable Japanese engine singing in your ears, the only question will be whether you as the driver could endure a million miles. Especially as your own body is effectively the bodywork. Otherwise the Ariel Atom has the absolute bare essentials and should be all you need for the next few years.
Land Rover Defender
We are determined to fly the flag here, yet we are the first to admit that the modern Land Rover Defender is a lot more complicated than it used to be. Our theory is that as bits fail or fall off, we simply replace them with older bits from earlier series models – coils replaced by cart springs, electric windows ousted for sliders, that sort of thing – so that it becomes progressively more basic and durable year by year. By 2031 it will be a Series One in all but name.
So do you have any suggestions?