MILWAUKEE — As a traveling salesman, Peter Gilbert has put a few miles on his car — 1,001,385 miles, to be precise.
It took the Glendale, Wisc, man 17 years to cross the million mile mark with his 1989 Saab 900 SPG. He recently donated the durable vehicle to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum after Saab verified the mileage.
The transmission was rebuilt at 200,000 miles and the hood and a few other parts replaced after eight deer collisions, but otherwise it has original equipment.
Gilbert bought the Saab for $29,000. It was his treat after a divorce, and he took meticulous care of it. He used premium, synthetic oil in oil changes, changed the tires every 45,000 miles and strictly followed the maintenance schedule.
He drove the car seven days a week, racking up the miles as his work took him through rural Wisconsin.
Not burning oil
"When I hit 600,000 miles, the car still wasn't burning oil," Gilbert said. "That's when I thought it could go a million miles."
But Wisconsin's harsh winters took a toll on the car. Its sporty exterior still looks good, but road salt has rusted its frame. Gilbert realized it might no longer be safe if he hit another deer or had a serious accident.
"There was no point in driving the car any longer," he said. "Even though it might have gone another million miles."
He had it detailed and parked it at the Hartford museum, which houses a number of rare vehicles.
Then Gilbert bought another Saab with fewer miles.
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