For the benefit of younger readers who visit Motor1.com, here’s a quick history lesson on the granddaddy of illegal races that – literally to this day – still tempts those with a penchant for pushing the limits. We’re talking about the Cannonball – a point-to-point automotive sprint that starts in New York City and concludes in Los Angeles. There are no rules, and it started with Erwin Baker’s 11-day trip on a motorcycle way back in 1915. In 1933 he made the trip in 53 hours behind the wheel of a big Graham-Paige sedan, inspiring legendary Car & Driver scribe Brock Yates to revive the notorious event in the 1970s.
That revival inspired others to push the record even further, which brings us to three guys in a silver 2015 Mercedes-AMG E63 sedan that just drove from sea to shining sea in 27 and 25 minutes. Say hello to Arne Toman, Doug Tabbutt, and Berkeley Chadwick, the new record holders for the Cannonball Run.
We’ll leave the specific details of the event to the in-depth video from VINwiki, and a comprehensive retelling of the trip by Road & Track. We’ll cover the questions burning a hole in your automotive brains by getting straight to the point. No, they didn’t have any encounters with law enforcement (though there was a notable close call), and since the average speed of this trip was just over 100 mph – including fuel stops – they obviously didn’t have mechanical issues.
Gallery: Cannonball Record
Yes, the Merc was significantly modified for the journey, not the least of which being a 40-gallon fuel cell for maximum range between fillups. The big sedan was tweaked to develop 700 horsepower to the wheels, and it was jam-packed with radar detectors, laser jammers, radios, navigation equipment, and even a night vision system. Toman and Tabbut handled the driving duties, while Chadwick specialized in manning the spotting equipment.
Of course, maintaining an average speed over 100 mph means the team ultimately reached velocities far beyond that mark. As to exactly how fast they went, nothing is ever mentioned specifically, though a picture of the GPS at the end of the video reveals a max speed of 193 mph. Of course, that could've taken place on a "race track" so yeah, nothing is official by any means.
As purveyors of all things automotive, we understand the significance of this accomplishment despite it being wrapped in all kinds of naughty activity. We know some will love this record, while others hate it. We certainly don't condone such dangerous behavior, no matter how much care is taken to make it safe.
Will this new record be broken in the future? If the past is any indication, adrenaline-fueled petrolheads are probably working on plans right now.