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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Million Mile Chevy

Last Friday, Feb. 8th, Frank Oresnik of tiny Catawba, Wis. (up north in Price County) put the millionth mile on his 1991 Chevy Silverado pickup. Oresnik delivers seafood all around the upper Great Lakes, from Minneapolis to Chicago to Michigan, and he bought the truck used back in 1996. It had 46,000 miles on it then, and this weekend, after 300 oil changes, it was set to roll over the million-mile mark.

"To merely describe it as dependable and reliable doesn't touch it at all," Oresnik told television station WCCO in Minneapolis. "This truck has never, ever, ever, left me in a lurch." Two weeks ago both the clock and the radio finally died, and Oresnik has replaced the transmission four times and the gas tank twice. This reminds us of the fellow who chopped firewood with the same axe for 30 years: he'd replaced the head twice and the handle three times and it still worked as well as ever.

We don't know if Oresnik's Silverado was built in Janesville, but crafting fine cars and trucks is a Wisconsin tradition. You can learn about the start of that tradition in the "Automobile Culture" section of Turning Points in Wisconsin History. You can also see (and buy) historic photographs of Wisconsin-made vehicles and the people who built them at our online photo gallery, "Horses to Horsepower — Cars in Wisconsin History."

Finally, if you missed the wonderful show about Wisconsin gas stations on public television last year, you can browse our online exhibit, "Are We There Yet? Fill 'er Up: The Evolution of Gas Stations in Wisconsin." A book based on the show, written by Society architectural historians, will be out later this year from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

:: Posted in Curiosities on February 10, 2008

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