Journal: What’s The Longest You’ve Owned A Vehicle For?

What’s The Longest You’ve Owned A Vehicle For?

By Michael Banovsky
April 8, 2016

It just sort of happened, I guess. One day, I’m 16 and handed the keys to a car I’d bought with my money, eventually—what, did your parents charge interest?—a 1990 Volvo 740 Turbo. The next, I’m 32 and that same car is sitting, accumulating all sorts of awful in a barn of sort a few kilometers away. One day it’ll be Gatebil-worthy.

My other has been in the family for some form or another for more than 30 years. It’s a ’73 Porsche 914 2.0-litre that’s done more sitting in that time than the cast of Good Morning America, but I figure this is the year it’ll get driven a lot or cast away.

I’m not sure if I consider either ownership history to be an achievement, it just sort of happened that their keys are still around here, somewhere. What’s your take on holding onto a machine for a long time?

Photography by Afshin Behnia, Amy Shore, Jack Olsen, & Mike Cassidy

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Rattachai Thammarat
Rattachai Thammarat(@rattachai_thammarat)
3 years ago

I have my 1992 Volvo 940 and still own until now with 2JZ-GTE swap lol.

3 years ago

I’ve had one of the Allards since 1976. It’s still going strong.

3 years ago

When I was 15 I bought my ’68 1600-2. I’m 27 now. My dad has me beat – he’s had his Lotus Elan since 1982.

Arnaud FD
Arnaud FD(@arnaudfontaine1756)
3 years ago

Ive owned many many high end german sports and luxury cars that i dont keep very long but ive owned my wonderful 2002 maxima 3.5 6spd for 7.5 years and im never, ever gonna sell it. Just the best all around car ever! Its always there for me when the germans are in the shop or just being annoying

Rich Hall
Rich Hall(@rich_hall)
3 years ago

30 years family owned.

3 years ago

Alfa….(’69…1750GTV)…..49 years….My Baby…….can’t believe how the years have gone by

jerry Lynn robinson
jerry Lynn robinson
4 years ago

I’ve owned my Cutlass convertible for 43 years.

Jack Brewer
Jack Brewer
4 years ago

My 1989 Range Rover which I owned from 1992 to 2016. I miss her, but she’s in a good home.

Matt Leicester
Matt Leicester(@matt_leicester)
5 years ago

My first new vehicle was a 1977 Toyota 1/2 Ton Standard Bed pickup. That was the official name from Toyota. by the time I could afford anything else, I had done so much work to the now named Hotruck that I could not sell it, so it still sits in my garage and gets taken out to autocrosses now and then. Also in the garage is the 1972 Toyota Celica my Dad bought new in 1972 and kept until he died two years ago. Oh, and I have had my daily driver 1991 Toyota 4WD pickup since new in December of 1990, currently at 584K miles, original motor, transmission and drivelines. The odometer picture of the 1991 is quite out of date…

Jim Levitt
Jim Levitt(@jrl1194)
5 years ago


5 years ago

The longest car I have owned is my first car a 1973 Chevelle Malibu (20 years now), but here is the cool thing. My dad bought it new in 1973 had it for two years, then my grandma bought it from him drove it for 21 years then I got it when I turned 16. Best car we have ever owned. It is mostly still all original, unrestored.

Joel Milhazes
Joel Milhazes
5 years ago

the longest i ever onw a car so far was a daihastu feroza for almost 3 years, but i think that this last car i have will beat that personal record

Daniel Jansson
Daniel Jansson
5 years ago

My first car an Alfa GTV6 ’83. Bought 2003. Still mine, never selling it 🙂

Lance Dong
Lance Dong(@araknd)
5 years ago

Bought my 1982 Alfa Romeo GTV6 Balocco in 1995, was daily driver for 15+ years and now it’s my weekend driver.

Per Eldh
Per Eldh(@per)
5 years ago

My Fiat Argenta 120ie 1985, since 1993!

James Tedman
James Tedman(@alfasubielova88)
5 years ago

I am 6 weeks away from owning and driving my 1990 Subaru DL Leone Wagon for 10 years. This breakable old car has taken me around most of the south eastern portion of Australia and I have many fond memories with it. this has been in the family since new, when my grandfather bought it for a trip from Melbourne to Perth. Looking forward to seeing what the next 10 years brings!

Victor Van Tress
Victor Van Tress(@2vt)
5 years ago

August 17, 1970 I bought a second hand ’65 MGB with a factory hardtop. Still got it. I don’t have any “Lucas Electrics” jokes and in fact if you have trouble with 3 wires, a generator and a regulator I’d suggest you find a different hobby. Really.

5 years ago

I bought a 1950 Austin A40 Devon in 1979 when I was 15. I still have it. I have 3 more now, one is a pick-up, one is a Jensen bodied sports and the other is a later A40 Farina. It’ll be 37 years in October!

Stephen Hosker
Stephen Hosker(@sahoss)
5 years ago

Just made 26 years with this Miata. Was my daily driver, well 8 moths out of the year, for 10 years. Now its a dedicated track car. Still on the original unopened engine with 150,00 miles and 15 years of track duty

James Jensen
James Jensen(@jamesolefjensen)
5 years ago

I just sold my 86 Corvette that I had for 20 years. I drove it regularly right up until I handed over the keys. I’ve had my 71 Malibu since 86. It’s my daily driver. I would say there is an upside to familiarity. This is especially true when your do your own maintenance.

Peter Inshaw
Peter Inshaw(@fb_1557448261)
5 years ago

39 years, SInce 1967. Does it count that I grew up wih the car from new, was my first car to take on the track and later blow up, then restore, race, park, race more, rebuilt again, and again, and finally again now for a race in June? I got it after my dad passed in 96, but thrashed it since 87.

Jure A.
Jure A.(@jurea)
5 years ago

I still have my Citroen Dyane, which I bought in September 1992.
Drove it all over Europe: From the west coast of Ireland to Romania, from Nordkapp in Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean, and all the countries in between.
I also still have all other cars which I have bought since.
Why sell a car if I don’t have to?
Got a picture of the Dyane (and other cars) here:

5 years ago

I arm-twisted my buddy to sell his ’66 E-type coupe almost 31 years ago (the first car I bought). The trip south to fetch it was sketchy but I got it back still looking like a car, moved it here and there and finally restored it. It gets a few thousand fast miles a year out to the coast and around the area and sneaks into the local C&C event with the exotics. Everyone seems to have a story about an E-type and enjoys hearing a bit about this one. I’ve bought and sold other cars since then but this one is too good to ever let go.

5 years ago

Have a 1986 Yamaha radian bought in late 85. So that 31 years
My BBi owned from 93 is 23 years
05 M3 owned 11 years.
11 elise is the baby at 5 years.

The years fly by, and oen way to accumulate great cars is to buy them over time and before “collectors” catch on, and then dont sell.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago

Hmm … lets see now … bought the GTC/4 in and around 1979 * … sold it for a godawful fortune in …. errr .. can’t quite reveal the year as that alone might give away my privacy … e.g ” That would be telling ” [ Mr Lange despite his youth might get that one ] … but suffice it to say it was … before Obama’s first term . So almost thirty years …. 😉

* What can I say about the ambiguity of the purchase year …. it was the 70’s …. things were … different back then …

Mario Baroz
Mario Baroz(@dukboy123)
5 years ago

My vehicles have been on an order of magnitude more humble than the cars mentioned earlier. But here goes…

My first car was a 1977 MG Midget in 1978 which my father co-signed for. I loved it but it was so unreliable over the two years I owned it I was going to trade it in for a ’66 Mustang Fastback. But on the day before I was going to trade it, I was attacking a corner too fast for my talent and rolled it. My Dad and I cobbled it together with junkyard parts but the frame was twisted and it crabbed down the road.

So I traded it in on a brand-new 1979 Toyota Corolla Liftback. Way before the import tuner craze, I crafted some tinted lens (and mounting brackets) for it, installed Momo steering wheel and shift knob, a Wink three panel rear view mirror, a sunscreen on the windshield, and custom self made racing stripes tape job. I autocrossed that for several years, then joined the Air Force, and I kept the Corolla for 10 years and 170,000 miles. I sold the Corolla because I bought an ’85 BMW 318i in 1988. I couldn’t manage both the Toyota and BMW, as well as my Kawasaki GPz550.

I kept the BMW for 11 years and 120,000 (it ended up with 190,000 miles overall).

I bought a 1991 Ford F-150 brand new in Sep. 1991 and I still have that so it’s been 25 years now. At one point I had 5 motorcycles, the BMW and the F-150 so I had to slim down the menagerie. Still being in the military, it was too hard to move all these vehicles each time I got new orders. So I sold the BMW, all the bikes except my ’88 Suzuki Katana, and kept the truck.

In 1996, I bought a new Ducati 900SS/CR and still have that so I’ve had that for 20 years now. It’s extensively modified and is my baby….it’ll go to my son when I pass.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago
Reply to  Mario Baroz

….. most definitely try and hold on to the Duc ! If junior turns out to have no interest … if things proceed as I think they may … you’ll have a nice addition to your retirement fund sitting in your garage awaiting the decision to sell .

Seriously .. you ought to see the boost a couple of VOC acquaintances/friends have gotten towards their retirement what with $100k + prices

5 years ago

My story is nowhere near as glamorous as some of the legendary machines metnioned so far in this post but I will tell you the story anyway.

I have a beautiful Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon 2.4 JTD Veloce which I bought brand new in 2002. It was the result of being extremely badly treated at an Audi dealership where I was looking to buy an A6 wagon.
After leaving the Audi dealer raging,I drove to the Alfa Romeo dealer and the only thing they didn’t do was lay out a red carpet. The staff were incredible and the salesman just gave me the keys to a demonstrator car with the words”Take as long as you like, keep it for the weekend if you want” I replied with something about driving licence, address etc but he said “No it’s fine just come back when you have decided that you want one or not”

Still smarting from my dreadful Audi experience earlier in the day I was taken aback with the overwhelming friendliness of the Alfa Romeo dealer and proceeded up the road with caution. What an experience! The fantastic torque and the lovely growl from the 5 cylinder turbo engine plus the nimble handling and comfortable driving position made me smile immediately. I was sold in 5 minutes.

The last 30 minutes of my drive was spent working out how to approach the salesman with the right deal so I could end up with this car on my driveway. I wanted cruise control and MOMO red leather seats in a silver body. Alas there were none in stock and I would have to wait 3 months to get the car I desired so much. Could I wait that long or go back to the Audi dealer with cap in hand for something out of their compound.? Hell no!

i did the deal and waited 12 weeks for my car made to order. It was worth it. I will remember arriving to collect my car and it was just sitting there on the forecourt ready to go looking a million dollars.

The handover was a blur actually, with some flowers and a bottle of Barolo wine gifted as part of the deal. I just remember driving home thinking ‘This is my car”.

That was 14 years ago and I live in Abu Dhabi now, but although my beloved Alfa is not here with me it still resides at my parents house undercover and garaged in the UK. I will never sell it as long as I live. It has given me so much pleasure, not just from driving but sometimes, on a quiet road and in the right setting, I would get out to just look at it.

My Alfa has had one or 2 scrapes, one by me making a slightly heavy landing going over a railway bridge and the other by my Wife scraping the door on a wall, but mechanically she has been truly brilliant. A flat battery here and a map sensor replacement there.

But honestly it has been the best car I have ever owned.

I made the mistake of falling in love with my Alfa 156 Sportwagon and that to me means for life.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago
Reply to  Raltex

A well told tale … and I get it when it comes to bad Audi ownership experiences . My turn in hell with a 2001 S4 Avant ended any chance of buying anything from the BORG [ VW-Audi ] ever again . But to be honest having owned a couple of Alfas myself … the .. ” best car I’ve ever owned ” … bit somewhat escapes me . If an Alfa .. any Alfa has been your best … I dread to think what your worst may of been . Having said that though .. keep on keeping on

Aaron Miller
Aaron Miller(@aaronmiller)
5 years ago

5,943 days, or a few months over 16 years.

My first car became mine in the middle of the afternoon on August 23rd, 1996. It was a Fox Mustang — a damn clean one — and it was with me through life’s lowest lows and some of the greatest heights. It was my first car, my first project car, and in some respects my first love. In the late 2000s, I embarked on restoring it, albeit with some performance enhancements. That car was my training ground for everything from detailing to mechanical work. I learned how to drive a stick on that car, and how to heel-toe. My car was my identity, and not just to me. “You’re that guy with that blue Mustang,” is how more than one stranger greeted me back then. I loved that car like a family member, and I hated it like one, too.

By the time I was 31, I’d owned Blue for over half my life. I’d probably still have it today, for better or worse, but it wasn’t to be. My ownership ceased at 5:04 in the morning of November 30, 2012, according to the timestamp of the security camera video showing its theft.

Da Botz
Da Botz(@dabotz-drawings)
5 years ago

19 Years, and counting.

One week before dying, my father bought a then 7 years old Mercedes Benz W124, the Italian spec 2.0L four banger.

I inherited it at his death.

It’s got a rough patch, some three years ago, with electronic injection gremlins that the shop near home couldn’t fix (I miss the guy near my home when I lived in Italy… Spanish mechanics are indescribable) but turned out to be bad fuel that clogged the lines (Spanish gasoline is indescribable too, apparently) in winter.

Apart that, it is till my sole and only daily driver.

I still miss the ’84 Alfa Romeo Nuova Giulietta (Type 116) that I had before it but, to be honest, it was already becoming a problem to find spare pieces back in ’98, when I sold it.

I hope the Merc’ lasts some five more years, so that I can replace it with a used Giulia (I promised myself that I would, if ever, change it only for another A.R. RWD sedan… little did I know that Alfa would have really build another one again).

5 years ago

I bought an unrestored 1966 GT Fastback Mustang in 1995. I really couldn’t afford or justify it, but the opportunity came up and it was just too good to pass up. It was pretty rough but “driveable”. We had just had our second child and had recently purchased our first house, so there was no money to restore the car. I drove it occasionally, but for the most part it just sat in the workshop with a cover over it, while we spent what little extra resources we had renovating our house. After more than a decade, I had a little windfall of cash and decided it was time to restore the fastback. I spent the next 4 years doing an extensive restoration and when it was completed I got to enjoy it for about another 4 years. During this time I purchased a ’65 Shelby GT350 (my bucket list car).

After 18 years of ownership, I sold the fastback and put the proceeds into my kids’ college fund. So 18 years is my record, but I plan to keep the Shelby for longer – unless something better comes along!

Frank Barrett
Frank Barrett(@frankbarrett)
5 years ago

Have owned my ’65 Porsche 912 since 1968, restored it twice, driven it 150,000 miles in all weathers, autocrossed and time-trialed it for years. So 48 years and counting…


Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago
Reply to  Frank Barrett

.. and the hands down winner is .. you good sir !

Jim Levitt
Jim Levitt(@jrl1194)
5 years ago
Reply to  Frank Barrett

Yessir, you are the winner here!

Alexander Lokkegaard
Alexander Lokkegaard(@lockguard)
5 years ago

I’m still driving my first car too, a 1997 Peugeot 106 Rallye, that i have owned for 6,5 years. I picked it up when i was 19 (i’m 25 now), about one year after i got my license (legal limit is 18 here in Denmark), and i’ve put around 45.000 miles / 70.000 kms on the little bugger. It wasn’t really anything special when i got it – plenty of them around, but now most of them seem to have disappeared. I have also had people honk and wave at me, comment on it and wanting to chat about it – that’s new!
I don’t have any plans about selling it, still love throwing it around country roads 🙂

5 years ago

Michael, to remind you, we had conversation about this during last year’s Maple Mille. There are utility daily drivers, and then there are “family members” as classes of cars.

I have owned my 73 914 2.0 for 37 years and my 911S for 40 years. The history and associated pleasures/usage of both of these cars is intimately woven into the personal history of my family and into lives of my close friends who have shared the driving pleasures of these cars.

For example, sharing the 914 with you in Northern Ontario last year during your photo session as well as with others, continues to give me a wealth of recurrent, pleasurable memories about the 14 each time I drive it. This is a very different experience from the many forgettable daily drivers that I have had over the years.

Certain cars, like my 14, just burrow themselves into our family lives and memories and become an essential part of our make-up. Just enjoy the miles of smiles these special cars give to us. The 14 will give me even more in the next few weeks in the high country of BC during Dave Hord’s “Spring Thaw”.

Tom DesRochers
Tom DesRochers(@brown76)
5 years ago

The 76 Maverick has been a part of my life since 1978. Parked since 94 because I made the mistake of leaving it in the “care” of my sister when I went off to university. At least she gave me the excuse to do an engine swap.

5 years ago

Although it would be fun to sample a wide variety of bucket list cars, I have always stuck with a car collection of….one. Our last, a “patina’d” 1960 MGA, was our 15th anniversary gift to each other (to honor our college cars, a Austin Healey and a Triumph). We had the MGA to 20 years when four years ago we found the “it” 911, we all cried, hard, when the new owner drove it off. This is Emma as a baby and on the day it left.

5 years ago

This Friday will be the 18th year that I have owned my E30 M3. It was the first car I purchased. Other cars have come and gone but that one will always be there.

Brandon Herrera
Brandon Herrera(@brandon-herrera)
5 years ago
Reply to  M3racer

Damn the M3 was your first car you bought, badass. Longest I had a car was 2.5 years. In two weeks will be two years with my 93 Vette.