Tuesday, February 12, 2008

1991 Chevy Silverado hits the 1,000,000 mile mark

On Friday while driving to dinner, I was listening to All Things Considered on the radio, and they had Frank Oresnik on the line, owner of a 1991 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that was about to cross the million-mile threshold. He talked with Robert Siegel (the host) from the road as his odometer hit 1 million miles. (Not sure what that looks like, as I had to leave the car to make my dinner reservation. Does it go back to zero?)

While many argue that foreign cars are far more reliable than domestic automobiles, here's at least one case for the Big 3.
Talk about the best commercial ever for Chevy! This story has lit up the message boards, and has people talking about Chevy...i.e., "Made in Americaaaa!!!"

When informed of Mr. Oresnik's impending milestone, Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper said, "Most Dependable, Longest Lasting isn't just a slogan, and it applies not only to Chevy pickups but to the people who drive them. We get lots of mail from customers with hundreds of thousands of miles on their Chevy trucks - so much, in fact, we formed the Silverado 200,000 mile club in 2006 - but a million miles is certainly remarkable. We're glad to have Mr. Oresnik on the Chevy team." Congrats to Mr. Oresnik. May your next truck be as dependable as this one.

The Story
Frank Oresnik of Medford, Wisconsin bought his used '91 Silverado in 1996. At the time, it had 41,000 miles on the odometer and the previous owner's widow was selling it because it was too big for her. He has since racked up an average of 85,000 miles a year delivering seafood and steaks in the upper Midwest, in three states.

As for how he got this far, Oresnik credits regular maintenance and "a little luck." His detailed service records show 300 oil changes every 3,000 miles. It's had so many changes that the oil pan drain plug had to be rethreaded several times, he said, and "you never hear of that." The truck has had four radiators, three gas tanks, five transmissions and six water pumps, but the engine has never been overhauled, Oresnik said.

Frank Oresnik's trusty pickup truck — he calls it "the old girl" — passed the 1 million-mile mark on Friday with a camera crew filming the event and a public-radio audience listening in. "I can't tell you how much fun it was," he said. "It was really humbling, all this interest."

On hand was a film crew from Chevrolet's public relations and advertising company, and Mr. Oresnik was speaking live to Robert Siegel, host of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."

A news crew from CBS had been with him earlier in the day.

"I wont say it was relief ... it was exhilarating," Oresnik said later during a stop in Gresham where he has one of his longtime customers. "This truck has been so dependable over the years."

What happens to the truck now?
Even though his truck is still in working order, Oresnik plans to retire it after having reached the 1 million miles. "I feel almost like the longtime NFL player as he goes into his last training camp knowing this is the end," Oresnik told The Detroit News.

Now that it's made history, the truck could be headed back to the automaker or Shell Oil. Oresnik said there's been some interested in GM or Shell Oil buying it.

Chevy Silverado 200K Mile Club

Related story with less fanfare

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