It's the New Volvo Amazon - 1996 Lexus ES 300 Long-Term Road Test

1996 Lexus ES 300 Long Term Road Test

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1996 Lexus ES 300: It's the New Volvo Amazon

November 7, 2012

1996 Lexus ES 300

Trundling down the San Diego Freeway at 30 mph, a Volvo Amazon 122S coasted by in the other lane. One of thousands built between 1956 and 1970, it actually looked just like the car in this factory photo -- it was even red. It made me think that this Lexus is the Amazon reborn, the kind of car that just seems to keep going almost despite itself.

Volvo guys are always showing you the odometer of their cars, maybe because of Irv Gordon, that guy on Long Island who has nearly 3 million miles on his 1966 Volvo P1800S. Volvo guys take pride in driving old, worn cars, and Volvo in fact keeps track of those owners who reach the million mile mark. 

There's always a kind of debate whether old Volvos like the Amazon are genuine classics or just old cars. Personally I think anything with a lot of miles is a classic, and I can totally see the Lexus as this sort of car.

The problem for million-mile longevity will of course be the electronics. As we've discussed before, it's easy to keep things like mechanical fuel pumps going. But what are we going to do when the ES 300's electro-luminescent instrument display finally flickers and goes completely dark, as it threatens to do every time I drive it?

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, @ 150,922 miles

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