The story of Rachel Veitch and her love affair with a 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente first received media attention in 2007. Nearly three years later, Veitch is still extending her three-level statistical marvel.
Veitch, who turned 91 in August 2009, is still driving the car she’s owned for more than 45 years and driven nearly 600,000 miles.
Veitch of Orlando, Fla., who has has been married three times, now largely drives her car to volunteer work. A retired nurse, she’s an expert on Robert’s Rules of Order, which she also still teaches. Veitch’s driving is now limited to daylight driving because of her difficulty with night vision. She last took a driver’s license test in 2003.
In the three years since she was “discovered,” Veitch’s story has provided keen feature material for automotive journalists and network morning television news shows.
Veitch and her first husband bought the car new for $3,289. The couple divorced in the early 1970s. Veitch kept the Comet; her former husband took a new ’72 Pontiac from the marriage.
Veitch has also saved all of the car’s repair and replacement receipts, which include 17 J.C. Penney lifetime batteries, eight Midas mufflers and three sets of Sears-guaranteed shock absorbers.
Vintage car appraisers estimate the Mercury Comet’s value at around $3,000 or as much as $12,000, if restored. Veitch said she’s not interested in selling the car.
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Article Last Updated: July 17, 2014.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.