The 1981 movie, The Cannonball Run, has long been an inspiration to many car enthusiasts and drivers across the country. The famous cross-country race, although only followed by a small group willing to attempt the feat, is a race against the standing record – not other drivers. Since the race’s conception, many teams have stepped up to the challenge, some even successfully beating the record, widdling down the time to what seems to be impossible to beat – until it is broken yet again.
The new generation of car enthusiasts has not omitted the Cannonball from their bucket list, and it has actually been broken several times with some shocking times.
The first Cannonball run, according to Brock Yates, was never intended to be a race against the clock, but rather a celebration of the Interstate Highway System – although the race has no specified route. As popularity for the trans-continental drive grew, it not only became a dream of many drivers but also a mark of the progression in cars, technology, and resources.
Although drivers have their choice of routes, usually dictated by weather conditions and personal preference, there is a starting and finishing point for the race. Drivers begin the race in New York City at the Red Ball Garage on East 31st Street and travel across the country to finish at the Portofino Inn in Redondo Beach, California. While these two points are set, some drivers have even driven the race in reverse, but the goal is the same.
In the past decade alone, the record has been broken twice, both time with an astonishing time that appears to be unbeatable. Driver Alex Roy and codriver David Maher took the title in 2006 when they completed the Cannonball in 31 hours and 4 minutes, and it’s hard to believe that since then the record has been beaten not once, but twice.
If you’ve ever thought about taking a family road trip across the United States, you probably haven’t thought that you could make the drive in less than two days. In October of 2013, Ed Bolian and codriver Dave Black set out in a modified Mercedes CL-55. With the addition of an auxiliary fuel tank, a team of spotters, and precautions such as police scanners and radar jammers, Ed and Dave were able to beat the standing record at 28 hours and 50 minutes. You may be wondering…how fast were they going to make the drive in under 30 hours? Ed and Dave claim a top speed of a whopping 182mph and an average speed of 98mph.
The record was beaten again just last year by Arne Toman and codriver Doug Tabbutt. If Ed and Dave’s speeds weren’t shocking enough, Arne and Doug made the run at a claimed average of 103mph and a top speed of 193mph. In their similarly modified Mercedes Benz AMG E63, the team was able to break the record at an incredible 27 hours and 25 minutes.
If you can’t imagine driving from NYC to California in a few hours more than a day, we can’t wait to see what the next recorder breaking time will be – if it can be broken. Is breaking the Cannonball record on your bucket list of things to attempt?