If a critical part fails on an old car, then it might mean the end and the crusher comes next.
Which means that the long-term endurance of vehicles is about the hull value of the vehicle, more than anything. A car with greater market value will last longer, because it continues to make economic sense to fix it up, vs part it out, for longer periods of time. Heck, many perfectly-running (but old) cars are “worth more dead than alive”; that is, the value selling the car off, part by part, exceeds the value of the car as one, running vehicle.
Yes the secret to keeping a vehicle going a long time is to make it as unlikely as possible that you get “behind the curve,” economically, on a repair. The best way of accomplishing that is to get a well-engineered, bone-simple machine, of which MANY were made…so that you have cheap junkyard parts widely available for a very long time.