Since she was first featured in a three-minute video in 2007 on GrowingBolder.com, a website for active older adults, Rachel Veitch has become an international celebrity. She’s now age 92 and still driving her 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente.
The original video that detailed the purchase of her car and the-now 600,000 miles she’s driven it, has been viewed more than six million times.
One of Veitch’s recent media appearances was as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the late-night talk show host and car-collecting mogul.
Veitch, who calls her car “Chariot,” bought the Mercury new on Feb. 17, 1964. She and her husband sought cheaper transportation than their 1959 Cadillac Coupe DeVille.
Veitch settled on a four-door Caliente model with tan interior, a 164-horsepower/260-cubic-inch V-8, automatic transmission, air conditioning, power steering and every other available option except power brakes. The 2,700-pound sedan cost $3,289.
The spry, witty Veitch has driven the car about 1,000 miles per month for 46 years. Most of the miles were work-related, with Veitch commuting to her job as a cardiac nurse. She retired in 1990 at age 72.
Since then, Veitch has become a celebrity among Ford and Mercury car enthusiasts. She’s visited many states east of the Mississippi River while traveling to car shows in Michigan (where she won a trophy during the Ford Motor Co. 100th Anniversary show), Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and New York.
Veitch was also a guest NBC’s Today in August 2009 and well as her recent funny, poignant appearance on The Tonight Show. She matched wits easily with Leno, as the below video details.
Article Last Updated: August 26, 2010.
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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.