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Our entry into the Guinness Book of World Records
(updated May 9, 2014)

 

 

The first time we heard that our entry as "The Longest Journey by Car" – at this time 117 countries, 451'231 km (= 280'617 miles) since October 16, 1984 (nearly 13 years) – was approved by the Guinness Publishing was on Friday, June 20, 1997, as we had an interview at BBC's World Service "Outlook" at the Bush House in the center of London. Soon afterwards we received the World Record Certificate. The first time we were published in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1998. In 1999, Guinness World Records introduced its own Website and we were published immediately as "The Longest Driven Journey".

 

Our last entry in the
Guinness Book of
World Records 2014
Our last entry on page 71
in theGuinness Book of
World Records 2014
Our entry with picture
in theGuinness Book of
World Records 2009
 
 
 
 
 
 
Our current World
Record Certificate 2013
Our World Record
Certificate 2009
The 1st World
Record Certificate 1997
 
 
 
 
 
 
Our first entry  in the
Guinness Book of
World Records 1998
Our entry in the Millennium
Edition of the Guinness
Book of World Records 2000
Our entry with picture in the
Guinness Book of World
Records 2004
 
 
 
 
 
 
Our current entry on the website
Another website of our entry
April 2011
Another website of our entry
June 2009
 
 
 
 
 
 
Our entry of the previous
website July 2006
of the Guinness World Record
Our entry of an earlier website
of the Guinness World Record
Our entry of the 1st website
of the Guinness World Record
(Oct. 2000)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Back cover of "Team
Toyota No. 12" of Toyota
Motor Corporation (TMC)
Poster of an exhibition
in Baillif/Guadeloupe
Guinness' confirmation and
approval letter for the
Record 2009 Update
 
 

Predecessors and competitors

 

 

Harry B. Coleman/Peggy Larson's in the
Guinness Book of World Records
Manfred Müller/Paul-Ernst Luhrs' entry in the
Guinness Book of World Records
 

We broke herewith the previous records of Harry B. Coleman/Peggy Larson (113 countries – 231'288 km (= 143'716 miles) – 1976-1978 in a Volkswagen Camper), as well as Manfred Müller/Paul-Ernst Luhrs (350'000 km (= 217'490 miles) – 83 countries in a Citroën 2CV). Between January 1, 1999, and January 5, 2002, an American couple – Jim Rogers/Page Parker – tried to contest our single journey in a converted Mercedes-Benz SLK 230/G 300. After 111 countries (on his website he claims to have done 116!) and 245'544 km (= 152'576 miles) – a distance that includes also kilometers and miles of flights, shippings and railway rides – he stopped. He was published suddenly in the Guinness Book 2010 as "The longest continuous journey". However, "continuously" means only that he tried to visit – but mainly just "touched" – most of the countries merely once. But his nevertheless remarkable effort was not at all enough to beat our unique World Record in topics, like "visited number of countries + driven kilometers + time", and we are still on the road.

1997 the Brit David Robertson, with the backing of "Malaria Foundation International" ("Drive Against Malaria"; "Roll Back Malaria") tried to 'smash' our record – which we accomplished b.t.w. without any institution or company behind us, only lately with occasional supporters – but nothing can be found or heard about him since. This shows that it needs a lot of endurance to stay such a long time "on the road" and to explore so many countries as we did – prove is also the website of "Ask Men" where we figure as No. 8 of the "Weirdest Guinness World Records".

Since some time a new challenger is around, the German Gunther W. Holtorf driving a 1988 built Mercedes Benz G-Wagon 300GD. However, it isn't clear, how his planned Guinness World Record will be called, because he is traveling only 6 months in a year since his start in 1990, which doesn't correspond to a real "journey". Despite of this, the sporadically published press releases (actually always released by the local Mercedes distributor) show quite unclear and confusing data (number of countries and miles): Said that, in April 2005 there were 280'000 miles driven in Egypt; the same year in October back in Germany 258'000 miles; one month later in Bhutan 330'000 miles (!); in November 2006 in Indonesia 357'000 miles in 184 countries (!); in July 2007 in Malaysia and Singapore 365'230 miles in >130 countries; half a year later in February 2008 in Jamaica 386'000 miles in 151 countries, in June 395'000 miles = 168 countries, and in February 2011 in Sri Lanka 450'000 miles = >182 countries – and all results while driving only six months in a year! The figures tell its own tale; we experienced already the case that not only the real car's mileage was counted but additionally also the miles done while shipping on a freighter. In the same doubtful category falls the claim to have visited a country, while the car couldn’t leave the harbor or even the ship at all (our LandCruiser was officially permitted to enter and to drive around in ALL of our 172 countries we have visited). And last but not least counts the applied “country definition”: while some are counting more than 700 countries (including regions, areas, provinces, states, territories, etc.), we do only 261, according to the (former) rules of the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’.
 
Finally we believe to know that the whole "Holtorf-Story" was created by Mercedes Germany to have a plug for its "G-Class", regardless whether there has been cheating or not. Mercedes Stuttgart cannot be blamed for it. Gunther Holtorf comes handy as a bragger. Additionally it happens often that facts are mixed with wishful thinking. Here are some hints and links for this dubious "competition" – the remarks speak for itself due to the complete lack of transparency (statements without any relevant evidence).
 
Part of a press release of April 2005 by “Cairo National Automotive” (CNA), an authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer in Cairo, published by “BT Business TodayEgypgt.com”:
“Holtorf and Bohme began their trip in 1990 and, since then, they have been traveling in six-month intervals. A seasoned traveler and former Lufthansa director, Holtorf spent most of his life posted outside Germany.”
 
Note: That means that Holtorf effectively traveled in the 18 years from 1990 until 2007 only 9 years – if the word "travel" can be used at all.
--------

The Star” Malaysia – Journalist Mr. Paul Si, 17.6.2007:
http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2007/6/17/lifefocus/18018853&sec=lifefocus

Part from an interview:
“I have not really been living in my car for the past 17 years,” Holtorf, now 67, confesses modestly with a chuckle, in an interview on Tuesday at a golf club in Subang Jaya, Selangor.
“My wife and I would normally drive around several places for, maybe, six months, then we park the vehicle and fly home to Germany. Then, a few months later, we return to the car and continue the journey.”
--------

Auto Web News“ Australia – 9.7.2007
http://www.autoweb.com.au/cms/newsarticle.html?&A=108959&title=MercedesBenz-GClass-Driver-on-17Year-RoundTheWorld-Trip

Part from an interview:
This globetrotter actually started his journey in 1990. He usually dedicates some six months per year to his trips, and spends another couple of months in his home town, near Munich in Germany.
--------

The Gleaner” Jamaica – Journalist Mario James, 3.2.2008:
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20080203/auto/auto1.html

Part from an interview:
So maybe it takes a lot to excite her ... the couple has lived this nomadic lifestyle for about six months out of every year since 1990.
--------

The Philippine Star” Philippines – Journalist Kap Maceda Aguila, 6.6.2012:
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?publicationSubCategoryId=72&articleId=814385

Part from an interview:
At the CATS Motors showroom on EDSA, Otto takes a special place, albeit temporarily, among the latest Mercedes-Benz models. I must say that Otto wears his age and mileage proudly.
“Go inside and take a look,” invites Gunther, and points out to me the speedometer logging 799,783 kilometers. The first seven looks a little out of place. “It only has five digits, so whenever I reach 100,000 kilometers, I take it to Europe. They (Mercedes-Benz people) open it and plaster on the first digit,” he says with a smile.
--------

Digital Trends” USA – Journalist Anday Boxall, 24.7.2012:
http://www.digitaltrends.com/lifestyle/two-people-a-mercedes-g-wagen-and-their-23-year-500000-mile-journey-around-the-world/

Part from an interview:
When another 100,000 kilometers is about to pass, Otto returns to a Mercedes dealer in Europe, where the instrument binnacle is opened, and a new sixth digit is stuck next to the standard five-digit readout.
A 20-year old GPS unit, a traditional paper map and a diesel additive is about as technical as it gets, and don’t go looking for a website, Facebook page or Twitter feed on Gunther’s exploits either, as the adventure is strictly low-key.
 
Note: We are convinced that, based on the figures mentioned in the various press releases, the current claimed mileage of more than 500'000 miles (800'000 kilometers) should be reduced by about 125'000 miles (200'000 km).
 
Part from an interview:
In his recent interview with 'Outside', an American online magazine, the journalist asked Gunther whether he has been in Somalia. His answer was: «Somalia, no. It wasn’t possible at that time, we were near there in ’93, ’94, during the unrest there. There was no way. We can’t go there now either; it’s like Russian roulette». However, Somalia can be found listed in the alphabetical list of driven countries between 1990 and 2011 in an interview with the Sri Lankan 'Motormag.online.com'., and again on a website of a Philippine hotel, mentioned in a professionally looking chart with flags and visited country names (and four beautiful head pictures).
--------
 
"Outside" USA – Journalist Dave Seminara, 7.1.2013:
http://www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/The-Worlds-Greatest-Traveler-A-1988-Mercedes-That-Has-Been-to-172-Countries.html?page=10
 
"Motormag" Sri Lanka – Journalist Dyan S., 23.7.2011:
http://www.motormagonline.com/2011/07/23/the-modern-day-marco-polo-gunther-holtorf/
 
"Camiguin Action Geckos Dive & Adventure Resort" Philippines – 22.6.2012:
http://www.camiguin.ph/news
 
Note: The listing of Somalia as a visited country is in fact contradictary and raises thus the question, whether Gunther Holtorf and therefore "Otto" (the Mercedes car) have indeed traveled in all the other mentioned countries that he is claiming.