(Photo Credit: Rachel Veitch)These days, most people consider themselves lucky if a new car lasts 5 to 10 years. Make it to 100,000 miles in your vehicle, and the car company might make a commercial about you. That makes 93-year-old Rachel Veitch a notable exception. Veitch is retiring her 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente after more than 576,000 miles on the road.
"I am legally blind, so I can no longer drive my lovely Chariot," Veitch told FoxNews.com. "They don't have to take it away, I would not dream of driving that car again." The car itself is fine, but Veitch has macular degeneration in both her eyes, making her legally blind. After running a red light in March, she decided to voluntarily give up the vehicle she's been driving since Lyndon Johnson occupied the White House.
"I have taken it in stride," she said. "I don't have cancer, I don't have Lou Gehrig's disease. I am lucky."
Yet for all the miles she has put on her vehicle, it doesn't come close to the world record. The Truth About Cars blog wrote that Irv Gordon's 1966 Volvo P1800 is scheduled to reach 3 million miles this year. Gordon has held the record in the Guinness Book of World Records for most miles on a noncommercial vehicle since 1998.
Even without the world record, Vietch is fond of noting that the car has outlasted three marriages. Mechanically, it's worn through three sets of shocks, 18 batteries and eight mufflers. Veitch bought the car in February 1964 for just $3,289.
She credits the longevity to a "near-obsessive" approach to the car's maintenance. "I've never been a destructive person and I've just taken care of everything, except my husbands," she told FoxNews.
Veitch, who appeared with the vehicle on an August 2010 episode of the "Tonight Show," said she would be happy to sell the vehicle to host Jay Leno, a known car afficionado. She's not sure if Leno would be interested, but her four children, nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, aren't in line.
"It wouldn't matter if they did, they're not going to get it. They couldn't take care of it like I did," she told FoxNews.