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Life's Odometer: Smiles Per Gallon

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(13 votes - 99,010 views)
Posted on April 21st, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Is Rachel Veitch still going strong at nearly 91? Is her beloved "Chariot" still going strong at well over half-a-million miles? It's been nearly two years since we checked up on a GB favorite and her classic Mercury Caliente car. We just had to know if both are still racking up the mileage.

Rachel Updates:
-- Romancing the Road (the original story)
-- The Today Show Visits
-- Pistol Packin', Flag Wavin'
-- Rachel Joins GB
-- International Celebrity
-- Rachel Heads to Leno
-- Rachel's Last Joyride With Chariot

We've started a new gallery. Show us your first car or your favorite car.
It's easy. Upload the photo here.

We've started a new gallery. Show us your first car or your favorite car.
It's easy. Upload the photo here.

Rachel's stories have inspired a lot of comments. Join the conversations!
-- What's In Your Garage
-- Frugal Living: Share Your Secrets
-- Age Limits on Gun Ownership?

If you like this story, you'll love:
--Folk Musician Faces His Mortality
--Oleda Baker: A Model for Lifelong Learning
--Bill Booth: Exclusive Access
--Who Ya Gonna Call? Dan Aykroyd!
--Rowdy Gaines Gets Lucky
--Think Pink Lemonade Stand
--At 104, Artist Loving Life
--Bull Brothers
--Banana Battles Back
--Living Legends of Racing
--Women Steer Racing in Right Direction
--Soaring to New Heights
--The Fastest '57 Chevy in the World
--Hot Chicks, Cool Cars
--"Like an Oldsmobile Sucking a Lemon"

And be sure to visit these great channels:
--Unforgettable Characters

Technology - Vehicles, Living, Travel, Technology, GB Topics - Longevity, GB Topics - Unforgettable Characters, Living - Hobbies & Collections

vintage - classic car - rachel veitch - unforgettable characters - car - mercury caliente

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  • Growing Bolder
    Growing Bolder
    Growing Bolder
    Posted 7:27am March 15th, 2010

    Thanks for your nice comment about our video! We are big fans of Irv as well -- in fact, we interviewed him on our radio show a while back!

    You can listen to that interview here.

  • Posted 12:24am March 15th, 2010

    Good on you Rachel, keep up the good work.

    You should check out my friend Irv Gordon in New York.  He bought his car in 1966 and he has now driven it 2,800,000 miles. Also I would like to tell you that the name of my late mother-in-law (who died at the age of 98,) was also Kathleen Rachel Veitch and she lived in Australia.


  • Posted 9:21pm September 4th, 2009


    I have a 92 year old grandmother. She has never had a license, but is similar in spirit to you. I have watched your videos and would love to meet you sometime when down in Florida. I am 55 and love to share and learn from people even older. They do not make cars like they use to, but they also do not make people like you anymore either. I love you and your car. I have a 62 Impala and love it. You take care of that Comet.

    Rick and Debbie in Maryland

  • Posted 6:16pm July 17th, 2009

    That was when they really made cars to last. and when you take care of those cars they will take care of you. Keep on pushing

  • Posted 3:38am July 10th, 2009

    Dear Rachel,

    A friend sent me this GB link and I signed up because I so much enjoyed watching the Video interview of you and "Chariot".  You are amazing and a kindred spirit.  Since the '60s I too have kept detailed records of whatever car/truck I happened to own, and use a "California Duster" on 'em after returning home (and sometimes while out).  Unlike you, however, I have owned over 37 vehicles.  Now, due being garage-space-challenged, I (we) have only two (a car age 13,  56K miles, and a truck (age 3, 15K miles).  And unlike you, drive only locally.  But... if by co-pilot would, I'd take off for a jaunt of two.  I like your spirit and spunk.  God as blessed you with a keen mind and good health, which i see that you use wisely and boldly!  Good for you. Some would call us 'compulsive' but so what?  A clean vehicle runs better.  Besides, I appreciate what my Lord has provided, especially this wonderful country - USA!  I live among "The Greatest Generation" here in Arizona, and often tear-up when I consider the symbol of our flag and what stands for, and what price was paid so that we can be free.   I pray God's continuing blessing over you, and His protection (so that you don't have to use your 'persuader').  With attention you give Chariot, she'll go another 500K miles.  Keep on keepin' on.  I'll be watching for updates.    

  • Posted 9:42am July 9th, 2009
    Rachel, You're my SHero!!!!!!!  Keep on truckin', girlfriend!

  • Posted 10:01pm July 8th, 2009
    Hi Young Lady,

    You certainly are young at heart.  Keep going driving as long as you can.  Ford products will last forever when properly maintained.  I drove a 1979 Ford Chateau Club Wagon 250,000 miles with regularly scheduled maintenance with never a problem. 

    At any age as long as the person can pass a rigid test in my opinion they should be allowed to drive.  Every driver regardless of age should be retested every five years.  We have a lot of 25/45 year old drivers on the road that should not have a drivers license. 

    I am nearly 84 & I still average 800 plus mile a month on my Thunderbird Sport.  Our paths may cross on the road somewhere &
    I'll honk the horn & wave.  GO FOR IT GIRL.  May God continue to bless & keep you.

    Love you girl,



  • plane_dawn.jpg
    Posted 9:01pm June 30th, 2009
    Humm - How can this be?? It's not a Honda. It's not a Toyota. It's not a Suzuki. It's not a Subaru. It's not a Volvo. It's not a VW. It's not a Rolls Royce. It's not even a BMW! I've been hearing for about 25 years now how American cars don't hold up. I, like you, Rachael, take care of my things. In 1980 I had a '67 Buick Wildcat that I drove to College. I sold it to a collector (for a profit) when it had 153K mi. on it. It still ran perfectly. In 2009, our friend still owns it! In my driveway today is a GMC Safari (177K mi. on it) - I take my whole family on summer vacations with it - all 8 of us. My wife has a 2000 Pontiac Montana (115K mi). My college girl has 113K mi on her '95 Olds 88 Royale. My other '95 Olds 88 Royale LSS has over 144K mi on it. I ignore the critics as well. How else could we put 6 children through college or Trade School? To the rest of you: Buy American. You just might be surprised. No matter what you drive, keep it maintained. It'll be good back to you! ~ mgh ~

  • Posted 1:02pm June 23rd, 2009
    Rachel:  You and Chariot are nothing short of awesome!!  You are an inspiration.  Keep on truckin' girl.

  • Posted 6:22pm June 21st, 2009
    Rachel is an inspiration to me....I drive a 1960 corvair have owned it for 35 years... this woman sooo reminds me of me in another 30 years... Bless your soul Rachel !!

  • Kansas Sun Rise
    Posted 2:28pm June 20th, 2009

    Happy motoring.  Fire at will!

  • Posted 12:07am June 20th, 2009
    Simply amazing -- both the car and the fine lady in it. You're an inspiration. You go, Rachel!

  • Posted 3:21pm June 19th, 2009

     Nothing today seems to last as long as Chariot has.   And Rachel is amazing as well.  To be that independent is awesome!  You go girl.  I hope you and Chariot have many more years together.  You are an inspiration to us all.  You show us all what it is to be a true American.  I also love the way you go about protecting your Second Ammendment right!  I hope I have half the spunk you have now when I am 90.  I'll be 56 in three months, and I don't think I have that much energy now.  Thank you.  You are a real sweetheart!

    Blessed Be.  Linda


  • Posted 1:47pm June 16th, 2009

    Too bad today's cars can't last that long. This thing still looks in great shape for having over half a million miles on it.

  • Posted 11:47am June 16th, 2009
     God Bless this lovely lady. I wish her good luck and happiness and many more good years !  Suzi

  • Posted 12:35pm June 13th, 2009

    God bless her.

    I know the love she has of her car.  I've driven my 65 Fairlane for the last 7 years and I can't imagine ever getting rid of her. 

  • Posted 9:52am June 11th, 2009

    Rachel sure has me beat, while my family has owned what is now my 1960 Plymouth Savoy since it was new, unlike Rachel's Comet, it no longer has it's original Slant-Six, Transmission, or Differential. G-d bless Rachel, and her Comet, and for my money, the more women in the automotive hobby the better.

  • Posted 10:36am June 10th, 2009
    A friend of mine sent me this link and I can tell you, I'm impressed. I work for a  car magazine and I'd love to get this story in it. I'm going to contact my boss right now.
    Thank you, Rachel, for showing people that women CAN be car enthusiasts too. I simply LOVE your story. Chariot is one incredible "survivor" car too!

  • Executive Producer Katy Widrick 2.jpg
    GB Staff
    Posted 12:28pm May 28th, 2009
    Rachel is such a beautiful spirit -- I really enjoyed meeting her!

  • Posted 7:56am April 24th, 2009

    This is an amazing story!  At 91, she is commended on being so

    healthy and energetic to be able to drive and take care of her car.

    This does go to show that some cars will last if given the proper care.

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