Classic entrance to Monument Valley from Utah

Driving and Adventure

In world of today, there often seems to be a consensus that our lives lack adventure, due to the fact that this world seems fairly settled in. There are far fewer frontiers so readily available to us now, as opposed to even just 100 years ago. As we sit in our jobs today, contemplating how our entire continent has been explored long before we were even here, it seems that the mythology of the wide-open middle America is dying. However, every now and then we run into a story that reminds us of our natural human thirst for adventure, for doing what hasn’t been done. One such way that a few car nuts have taken to for the past 80 years is called the the Cannonball Run. A race against time from one end of this country to the other. Recently, the record for this drive has been shattered in an amazing way!

The new record

A well-spoken, young Southern man, Ed Bolian, was a car salesman and who taught Sunday school with his wife. Ever since he had heard about the Cannonball Run as a child, he had wanted to break the record. It was an itch that stuck with him into his adult life. In late 2013, Ed Bolian lived up to that dream and set the record for the fastest drive across the United States. Not only did he break the previous record, he smashed it with a driving time of 28 hours and 50 minutes. On top of that, he did it with much less resources than anyone before him had ever had.

Original record and latest record

The mythical Cannonball Run was started back in 1933, when Edwin “Cannonball” Baker drove from New York to LA in 53 hours and 30 minutes in a car called the “Blue Streak.” This is especially impressive considering there were no highways built at the time, and his average speed during the journey was only 50 miles per hour. Over the course of the next 80 years, the record has been beaten and beaten again and again, each time whittling down little by little until it hovered just below 32 hours. The previous record was accomplished by Alex Roy in 2007, when he made the drive in 31 hours and 4 minutes. However, he had a large crew, lots of money, and tons of support, including Helicopters flying overhead to give information from the air

The car

Ed Bolian chosen vehicle for the journey was his personal Mercedes-Benz CL55, which isn’t exactly a sport or luxury vehicle. Bolian outfitted the CL55 with two extra fuel tanks in the trunk, each measuring 22-gallons. Those, along with the factory standard 23-gallon tank in the car, gave his machine a combined 67 gallons of gasoline when completely full. He also filled the interior of the car with multiple GPS units, a police scanner, three radar detectors, a CB radio to communicate with truckers, and two laser jammers. Despite all this technology, his vehicle was actually less outfitted for performance than many of those who came before him…

Read more when we release part 2 of this incredible story!


Categories: Auto History

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