Note: This post about the Million Mile Joe is our second post under a new section on our Garage Chief blog devoted to some great auto / motorsport initiatives, noteworthy people or any other events worth remembering. We aim to cover often forgotten events or people we heard about but you may not. We started with a brief history of the Wyedean Rally, and now we’d like to pay a tribute to Joe LoCicerro (1957 – 2016), better known as the Million Mile Joe, who in 2011 clocked over a million miles in his good old Honda Accord. We consider this post as a tribute to Joe, and we hope he will be remembered.
The Million Mile Joe
When independent contractor Joe LoCicero needed a car tough and reliable enough to handle the roughest roads in Maine, Vermont and Northern New Hampshire, he bought a used Honda Accord. The Norway, Maine resident was confident an Accord could navigate the pothole-riddled roads in his territory in summer heat, freezing rain and snow.
The 1990 Accord Joe LoCicero purchased in 1996 had 74,000 miles on it. Because of its color, he nicknamed his new sedan True Blue. He knew Honda had a reputation for quality and dependability, so he expected to be driving his comfortable new Accord for a long time. He had no idea just how long.
1990 Honda Accord
1990 Accord EX 4-Door Sedan and Coupe – All Accords are powered by a 2.2 liter SOHC 16-valve engine with Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) and a standard 5-speed manual transmission or available 4-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode and lockup torque converter. Standard features on all 1990 Accord models include power steering, power front disc brakes, reclining front seats with adjustable head restraints, remote fuel filler door and trunk releases.
About 4,700 Miles A Month
Each month for 15 years Joe LoCicero’s work inspecting vehicles for lease terms and warranty claims had him putting about 4,700 miles on his used Honda Accord. And almost every time he put the key in the ignition and turned it, True Blue’s engine roared to life and his trusty vehicle took him anywhere he needed to go.
Over the years he was very pleased with the automobile he chose. Not only was it able to handle the rough roads and difficult weather conditions, his Honda Accord was also very comfortable.
One of the reasons Joe LoCicero was able to get consistently reliable and dependable service from his used Honda Accord was because he made sure to keep it properly maintained.
A trained mechanic, LoCicero checked its fluids every week, religiously performed oil changes every 5,000 miles, made sure to put in the same brand of oil every time and used the appropriate grade of motor oil and proper oil filters for each season.
Plus, he always kept the tank full of gas and followed the maintenance schedule outlined in the owner’s manual to the letter.
Very Few Repairs
One of the benefits of keeping his True Blue Honda Accord properly maintained is that the vehicle needed very few repairs over the 15 years he drove it. Plus, it only needed to be towed once in all that time.
Over the years he has had to replace both cooling fans and the fuel pump. Plus, he replaced the radiator twice.
But the vehicle still has the original engine and transmission. LoCicero pointed out that he always used the highest quality OEM replacement parts. He also credits the quality craftsmanship that goes into every Honda for the vehicle being able to perform so well for so long.
Just keep up with the fluids, follow your maintenance schedule and use OEM parts.
Built To Last
The reason that Joe LoCicero chose a Honda in the first place is because he knew it was a quality vehicle built to last. He knew as long as he followed Honda’s maintenance recommendations he would have the dependable automobile he needed.
LoCicero said by simply adhering to the car’s maintenance schedule, using only Honda certified oil, fuel and air filters, not riding the brakes too heavily and changing the brake fluid once every two years, the car ran like a dream.
He also gave it a little tender loving care and was rewarded with excellent performance.
A Very Special Automobile
Joe LoCicera’s job kept him on the road almost 7 days a week. He travel about four times the miles an average car owner puts on their vehicle each year. LoCicero didn’t think his vehicle was doing anything special until his odometer hit 500,000 miles.
At that point he realized that he might just have the opportunity to see the odometer roll over completely. That made him very excited and encouraged him to do whatever he could to keep his trusty Honda Accord running well and delivering great performance.
Getting The Car Special Recognition
When the odometer on got up to 938,000 and he realized it would be able to make the million mile mark with ease, Joe LoCicero decided his True Blue deserved special recognition.
So he drove the vehicle to Darling Auto Group Honda dealership in Bangor, Maine. There he spoke with the Darling Bangor Operations director, Ron Russell, and told him he had a ‘special’ Honda.
Russell had no idea why Joe LoCicero thought his 1990 Honda Accord was so special, but he followed LoCicero into the parking lot to see what was so ‘special’ about this Honda Accord.
The Perfect Marketing Opportunity
When Ron Russell saw Joe LoCisera’s 1990 Accord, he was impressed by how well he had taken care of it. When LoCicero explained that the odometer accurately showed it had travelled 938,000 miles and he was determined to drive it until it reached the million mile mark, Ron Russell was intrigued.
An experienced salesman, he knew the perfect marketing opportunity when he saw it. Joe LoCicero told Russell he felt Honda should provide him with a new Accord when his True Blue’s odometer hit the million mile mark. Having worked on many promotions for Honda, Ron Russell knew this could be huge.
Honda Is Ecstatic
Impressed and excited, Ron Russell assured LoCicero he would contact Honda and pitch them his idea about getting a new car when his 1990 Accord hit one million miles. When Ron Russell contacted Honda and told them about Joe LoCicero and his 1990 Honda Accord with almost a million miles, they were ecstatic.
The average Honda usually lasted about 8 years and racked up about 150,000 mile. No Honda Accord had ever reached the million mile plateau. They felt Joe LoCicero would get the Honda brand lots of consumer attention.
The ‘Million Mile Joe’ Campaign
Ron Russell and Honda contacted Joe LoCicero and told him they would like to monitor him and his Honda Accord and use the footage as part of their ‘Million Mile Joe’ campaign. It would show how a regular Joe who performed the recommended basic maintenance on his Honda Accord was able to drive it for over a million miles.
Honda launched its ‘Million Mile Joe’ marketing campaign in August of 2010. People were able to track the progress of Joe LoCicero and his Honda Accord on the internet on social media.
They could also get information and pictures through the marketing campaign as the Maine resident drove his Honda Accord, True Blue, over the one million mile mark.
No other Honda Accord had ever been driven that far. The story of ‘Million Mile Joe’ was viewed over 650,000 times on YouTube.
The Million Mile Mark
On October 22, 2011, Joe LoCicero pulled his 1990 Honda Accord into the parking lot in front of City Hall in Saco, Maine. He was there to celebrate his amazing milestone. He had become the first documented person to drive a Honda Accord one million miles.
Honda marked the moment with a ticker-tape parade which featured a marching band, floats, stilt walkers, cheerleaders, Miss Maine, USA, huge signs featuring Joe LoCicero’s face and an airplane banner.
With confetti streaming down, Honda presented 53 year old Joe LoCicero with a brand new cobalt blue 2012 Honda Accord to replace his beloved 21 year old True Blue.
When Million Mile Joe got behind the wheel of his brand new Honda Accord with “True Blue Meet New Blue” written on its front license plate, he smiled and said ‘I like it.’
He had gotten the reward he wanted.
Unfortunately, Joe has passed away on July 27, 2016. He will be remembered.
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