The license plate on Vic Dres' 1988 Volvo 740 GLE says it all: GL 1000K. (Goal, 1 million miles.)
Dres' long commute, dedication to routine maintenance and devotion to the Volvo brand have combined to put his target within sight. He has gone more than 622,500 miles down the road since he bought the sedan new at Renfrow Airport Auto Center in Santa Maria in May 1988.
"I drive this car every day and I never get tired of it," says Dres, 46, a resident of Grover Beach in San Luis Obispo County.
Dres, a postal service mail handler in Goleta near Santa Barbara, commutes 174 miles a day, five days a week. He, his wife and two daughters logged 7,070 miles on one notable vacation trip, a 1992 journey from Grover Beach to Toronto and back. (And we mean logged, literally. Dres keeps complete mileage records of notable events in his car's life.)
He changes the oil every 3,000 miles, changes the transmission fluid on schedule and rotates the tires himself.
Dres relies on professionals for the big jobs, such as a transmission replacement at 562,256 miles. He credits the service and parts staffs at Smith Volvo in San Luis Obispo--and before that Ventura Volvo, his shop for the first 200,000 or so miles--with helping him get the most out of his 740. The body paint is original, as is the upholstery, though he did replace the ceiling fabric a while back. The engine has not required an overhaul.
Why the devotion to Volvo? Turns out the Swedish brand--whose car operations were acquired by Ford Motor Co. this year--has its own high-mileage club, with one certified million-mile member in North America, according to Volvo's Web site. Dres, a club member and owner of two other Volvos, displays five 100,000-mile medallions on the back of the 740.
That million-mile award may be several years and untold commutes in the distance. In any case, he says, "I plan to keep [the 740] whether I reach my goal or not."
Your Car Here
Tender Loving Car features Southern California vehicles--daily drivers rather than show or collector cars--that have been kept in great shape by their owners. You may nominate yourself and your car, truck or motorcycle for this feature by sending a color photo of the vehicle, along with a brief description (200 words or fewer), how long you've owned it, what you do to keep it in excellent condition and how you use it--daily commuting? Weekend outings? Friday night dates? Write to Highway 1, Business Section, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053.