Here’s to hoping this record stays intact for a whle

One of the auto world’s craziest and most sought-after records, the Cannonball Run has been broken. The infamous New-York-to-Los-Angeles run that has been the obsession of a subculture of gear heads for more than 50 years now has a new record time, and it was broken by three guys — Arne Toman, Doug Tabbutt, and Berkeley Chadwick — who managed to accomplish the run while driving a heavily modified 2015 Mercedes-AMG E 63, doing so in a staggering time of 27 hours and 25 minutes. That time eclipsed the previous record of 30 hours that was set only six years ago.

A New Cannonball Run Record Has Been Set

For someone to actually break the existing Cannonball Run, he would have to be aware of all the road rules he’d break, not to mention subject himself from the dangers of driving too fast. But the Cannonball Run is made up of a fraternity of lunatics who are more than ready to throw caution to the wind in the name of breaking the six-year, 30-hour record.

This, of course, brings us to Arne Toman and Doug Tabbutt, who, along with Berkeley Chadwick, managed to do the unthinkable.

Driving a 2015 Mercedes-AMG E63 sedan, the trio managed to set a new Cannonball Run record with a time of 27 hours and 25 minutes.

They didn’t just break the record, folks. They obliterated it, and in the process, raising the stakes for future automotive lunatics who may want to surpass the recently set record.

A Mercedes AMG E63 Just Made the Cannonball Run in a Record 27 Hours and 25 Minutes
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The trio used a heavily modified version Mercedes-AMG E63 Sedan that was tweaked to produce 700 horsepower. It also came with a 40-gallon fuel cell that allowed the trio to go longer distances before they had to make the necessary pit stops. To stay on top of highway cruisers, the trio also fitted the AMG E 63 with an array of police-repellent equipment, including radar detectors, laser jammers, radios, and navigation systems. They even installed a night-vision setup for reasons that I can only imagine as being the ability to drive at night without any lights on. Does anybody ever say doing the Cannonball Run isn’t dangerous? Ultimately, Tomman and Tabbutt took turns behind the wheel of the AMG E 63 while Chadwick was in charge of monitoring all the police-repellent equipment in the car.

Asuuming the trio took the most direct route — Interstate 80 — from New York to Los Angeles, the trip would require them to cover a distance of 2,789.7 miles.

To set the time that they did covering that distance, their average speed would have to be around 101.8 mph. Mind you, this would have been the numbers if they took the most straightforward route possible. But where’s the fun in doing that, right?

The Actual Run

A Mercedes AMG E63 Just Made the Cannonball Run in a Record 27 Hours and 25 Minutes
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If you’re interested to know the actual route the trio took, here’s the breakdown. Toman, Tabbutt, and Chadwick left the Red Ball garage on the east side of Manhattan at 12:57 a.m. on November 10. The trio took the northern route first, going west on I-80 through Nebraska. From there, they transferred to the I-76 down to Denver before moving to I-70 right toward the middle of Utah and then switching to the I-15 down into Los Angeles’ maze of interstates.

Eventually, the trio made it to the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach after driving for 27 hours and 25 minutes and covering a distance of 2,825 miles.

Do the same numbers crunch and you’ll discover that the trio managed to maintain an average overall speed of around 103 mph throughout the run. Stops for fuel — a total of 22.5 minutes — were included in the total time. Considering that they drove on interstate highways with speed limits of 70 mph, I’d say that all the spotting equipment they bought with them proved very useful.

History of the Cannonball Run

For those who aren’t familiar with the Cannonball run, it is a point-to-point automotive sprint that starts in New York City and concludes in Los Angeles.

It’s not a sanctioned race of any sort, but it has become an obsessive quest among automotive nuts who remain enthralled at the idea of breaking the non-sanctioned Cannonball record of 30 hours that was set back in 2013.

Tracing the actual history of the Cannonball Run is trickier.

The most commonly accepted roots go all the way back to 1915 to a man named Edwin Baker, who drove from Los Angeles to New York in 11 days, seven hours, and fifteen minutes in a Stutz Bearcat.

Baker continued to do the run over the years, culminating in 1933 when he drove a Graham-Paige model 57 Blue Streak 8 from New York to Los Angeles in just 53.5 hours. That record stood for nearly 40 years until the 1970s when Car & Driver scribe Brock Yates revived the event.

Since then, countless drivers have attempted to make the drive, even if the shorter records have made it difficult, if not impossible, to complete a decent time without breaking multiple traffic laws along the way.

These days, the Cannonball Run is considered illegal because completing the run in the 30-hour range would make it an illegal road conquest.
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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