Remember that Forrest Gump scene sequence wherein Gump decided to take a quick run. He set out from his fictional hometown of Greenbow, Alabama and just kept on running – all the way to the Santa Monica Yacht Harbor in California. And then, he ran back. He crossed the country five times and racked up 15,248 miles before telling millions of moviegoers quite anti-climactically, “I’m pretty tired. Think I’ll go home now.”
Swiss couple Emil and Liliana Schmid and their 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60 can relate. They set out for a one-year getaway from their jobs as a software developer and secretary. And just kept going. Now 28 years-strong, their jaunt has officially been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest travel journey, the most miles and the most countries visited in a single car.
The Schmids have logged more than 413,650 miles in their trusty Land Cruiser, taking the scenic route through more than 170 different countries, enjoying the sights from Egypt’s ancient pyramids to Australia’s Ayers Rock. The Land Cruiser has proven quite the trooper, going through 166 flat tires, 138 spark plugs, 54 shock absorbers, 31 batteries, 22 air filters and upwards of 43,500 gallons of gas. In the past three months alone, it’s endured a broken engine mounting, ruptured handbrake cable, broken cross-shaft, damaged power piston and more than a few cosmetic dings and scratches.
But if you think it’s headed for the junk yard or an unlucky dealership anytime soon, think again. To the Schmids, replacing their beloved Land Cruiser would be much like trading in their firstborn. Ain’t gonna happen. This year along, the Schmids, now in their late sixties, have traveled Madagascar, the islands of Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Southern and Western Sumatra and the United Arab Emirates – with no plans to slow down.
We here at E3 Spark Plugs commend the Schmids and their trusty ride. So, which vehicle would you take on an epic, multi-continent tour? Post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook fan page.