High Roller - Revcounter 456

By: Guy Allen

Presented by

revcounter revcounter

Apparently the odo is only a state of mind

How many miles is too many? I swear our goal posts on this have shifted across the years as cars have (and I know this is a wildly sweeping statement) become more reliable, lubricants have improved and, for some of us, the idea of rebuilding whatever old hack is thrashing around under the bonnet has held fewer terrors andd makes better economic sense.

There was a time, and it’s well within living memory, when 100,000 miles (or 160,000km) was a signal for a new car, or a complete engine rebuild/exchange. Three of the last four cars I bought saw that mileage as a very distant memory.

The mighty Kingswood is the current mileage record-holder in the shed, with 458,000km under its tappets. However, that’s now on its second engine – with the change-over happening at near enough to 300,000km. We bought that Holden as a mere pup – with just 60,000km back in 1982 – the lowest mileage tintop we’ve ever owned.

And the others? Well the BMW 540 M-sport had just 130,000km when we bought it, while the big Benz 300SEL had closer to 240k, albeit after a top-end freshen-up. That’s about the same as the Bimmer 850 V12 which, so far as I know, has never been cracked open. The old 1976 633 is up near there as well, and I know that did the traditional head gasket at around the 200k mark, with the previous owner.

Our current rebuild-free mileage champion however is, ironically, the car that cost us the least amount of money, which is the Toyota Soarer grey import shipped over here decades ago and given Lexus badging. With 360,000km on the clock, it recently had a starter motor replaced, but that’s about it apart from the usual cambelts at longer than recommended intervals. It uses a touch of oil, but I know from experience we can drive it from Brisbane to Melbourne without requiring a top-up, and it seems to perform willingly enough.

Of course this was the first powerplant developed specifically for the Lexus brand, the 32-valve V8, and Toyota was reported to have spent something phenomenal – in the region of US$200 million 30 years ago. It seems to have been money well-spent...


From Unique Cars #456, August 2021 

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