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We Did It: New York to Los Angeles in 28:50

About 10 years ago I interviewed Brock Yates for a project on Automotive Journalism as a senior in high school. We talked about the business of writing about cars and his Cannonball Project. I told him that one day I would break the record and we talked about whether or not that was possible. About 18 months ago I began preparing to break the record in earnest.

On Saturday, October 19th, 2013 at 9:55 PM EDT I left from the Red Ball Parking Garage at 142 E 31st Street, New York, NY 10016 with my co-driver Dave Black and support passenger Dan Huang. We arrived at the Portofino Hotel and Marina (previously called the Portofino Inn) at 260 Portofino Way, Redondo Beach, CA 90277 at 11:46 PDT on Sunday, October 20th, 2013 mirroring the start and ending points of Yates’ infamous Cannonball. The elapsed time was 28 hours 50 minutes. We were stopped for 46 minutes along the way with a moving average of 100 mph and an overall average of 98 mph. We drove a Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG.

That time beat the previous records of Alex Roy and Dave Maher of 31:04 in a BMW M5 and Richard Rawlings and Dennis Collins of 31:59 in a Ferrari 550 Maranello.

It was an amazing and crazy trip where everything truly went more perfectly than we ever could have imagined or predicted. To beat such respectable competitors by such a sizable margin was made possible by such an amazing team and not running into any issues with traffic, construction, cops, or mechanical issues. Building on the successes of the previous teams was also huge. The benefit of having two successful record improvements in the past decade made a tremendous difference in our ability to plan and predict what would happen on the trip.

Thank you to everyone who helped us with the planning and execution of such a ridiculous endeavor. There will be plenty of stories to come out over the next few months but we are pleased to be home and safe.

Our goal with this project was to pay tribute to what we consider to be one of the coolest and most interesting chapters of American automotive history. I do not advise that anyone attempt this or break the law in any way. This type of activity could easily have resulted in our death, imprisonment, or led to a litany of other consequences.

  • avatar image
    Cisco
    October 30th, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Holy shit Ed! Nicely done and an amazing (crazy) achievement! No helicopters needed!.

    Reply
    • avatar image
      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:33 am

      Thank you. There were certainly some further lengths we could have gone to but I felt like our setup worked extremely well.

      Reply
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    Jaddie Dodd
    October 30th, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Congratulations, Ed! What a unique and fascinating lifetime accomplishment!

    I enjoyed reading this entry and the article on jalopnik.com.

    Your remarkable accomplishment reminds me of something my dad used to preach to me: proper planning prevents poor performance, also known as the five Ps.

    Way to make history!

    Reply
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    Richard
    October 31st, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Congrats Ed!! I just saw the article on Fox News. Get this: After the looking at your pictures for a few moments, I realized you are the same Ed from the AKA Rally years ago.

    Cheers,
    Richard

    Reply
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      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:34 am

      It is. Great to hear from you. Amazing that it has been 10 years already.

      Reply
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    Jean-Claude
    October 31st, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Congratulations! Just saw this on another automotive discussion board and recalled seeing your blog. Pretty gnarly blowing the previous best time by more than a hour.

    Reply
    • avatar image
      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:34 am

      Yes. That was beyond my wildest dreams when I was planning this. Fortunately all of the things that we could not control went much better than expected.

      Reply
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    Ed Cabaniss
    October 31st, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    At 71 years and remembering the original CBSTSSMTD I can say only: “God I wish I were 45 years younger and could have gone with you.” Congratulations you wonderful crazy son of a bitch. I love it.
    Ed Cabaniss
    Holden Beach, NC

    Reply
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      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:34 am

      You are too kind. Thank you for the message.

      Reply
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    bob
    November 1st, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Where is the GPS data? How about a route map? I don’t need a picture of Manhattan.

    Reply
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      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:31 am

      We waited a year to release that. Rather incriminating.

      Reply
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    ROY SNODGRASS
    November 1st, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Outstanding! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I saw the Cannonball Run movie back in the 1970s – “Watcha behind me is not important,” or something like that πŸ˜‰

    Teamwork, hard work and a little luck pays off once again!

    Thank you.

    Your accomplishment made my day!

    *http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2480654/Coast-Coast-29-hours-Mercedes-CL-driver-sets-new-record-averaging-98mph-car-spent-months-fitting-gadgets-eye-police.html

    Reply
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    JB
    November 1st, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Awesome, I watch the tv show “Fast and Furious” with Richard Rawllings and he has commented on running the Cannonball Race numerous times. With his reference to the race and to see you guys break the record, what guy wouldn’t be stoked to see there’s guys out there that drive for the thrill of a challenge like “The Cannonball” !
    Any chance of maybe a short documentary?
    Thanks for the ride,
    JB

    Reply
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      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:30 am

      We still have a few things in the works. The book should be along shortly.

      Reply
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    Bradley Robertson
    November 1st, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Congratulations Ed!!! I was shocked to see your pic in on ajc.com today. Glad you made it safely and set the record. Hope you resting up from your trip. Love your site and its awesome to see you glorify our Savior in your posts! May God bless you and your lovely wife and congrats again!!
    Bradley and Danica Robertson

    Reply
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      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:30 am

      Thank you. Great to hear from you.

      Reply
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    tim Doering
    November 1st, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    in 1982 I tried this with my 1968 Camaro SS running a 454. Didn’t even come close to your time. JOB WELL DONE Congratulations……

    Reply
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      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Thank you Tim. The whole idea of a cross country road trip is something that resonates with all car guys. Well done.

      Reply
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    Joe Bryant
    November 1st, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Congratulations! Free spirits should be an inspiration to all of us.

    Reply
  • Fastest Cross Country Drive Record Broken By Ed Bolian | InfoCnxn.com
    November 1st, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    […] Bolian recounted the trip on his website: […]

    Reply
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    Venice mentor
    November 1st, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    ALL RIGHT!!! I have always wanted to do that. I have just done Studio City to Mill Valley in 4:52 and I thought that was cool. LOL

    Reply
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    Dean
    November 1st, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Hi Ed,

    Great job shattering the record. What was your average fuel mileage for the record run?

    Thank you
    Dean

    Reply
  • Breaking The Law: Bolian And Crew Go From NYC To Cali In Under 29 Hours | Auto News
    November 1st, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    […] β€œIt was an amazing and crazy trip where everything truly went more perfectly than we ever could have imagined or predicted,” Bolian said on his own website. […]

    Reply
  • avatar image
    Tim Anderson
    November 1st, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Congratulations Ed & crew!!! I don’t know you but I can appreciate the challenge you embraced and I think its pretty cool!

    Tim Anderson
    2004 Nissan 350Z
    2010 Kawasaki Concours 14
    2013 Porsche Boxster s (soon!)

    Reply
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      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Thanks so much. I truly appreciate the kind words.

      Reply
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    David
    November 1st, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Could you please post your exact route? Or is that admitting guilt of some sort?

    I do alot of traveling and was wondering interstates you used.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • avatar image
      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Yes. We posted it a year after this post if you search the sit for “Interesting Depictions of the Data.”

      Reply
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    Russell
    November 2nd, 2013 at 1:55 am

    Quick to post aren’t you? Didn’t think to sit on it until the statue of limitations expired?

    Reply
    • avatar image
      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:35 am

      We waited a year to post anything too terribly incriminating.

      Reply
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    Henry
    November 2nd, 2013 at 11:25 am

    In this case – what sort of range extender was used? (Bed pans as known in the industry and reported in the news – not sure what that means? – Could not find anything on Google on this!)

    Are the range extenders – the addtional gas tanks or was there some other type of device such as electric power?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • avatar image
      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:36 am

      Fortunately the bed pans and in-car urination facilities were not required! Good have just in case.

      Reply
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    Sam
    November 3rd, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Wow!

    Plus using the CL55 AMG which makes Queen of Depreciation lists as an also-ran ride (very high parts prices from MB.) Great choice!

    Kinda puts doing San Francisco to Washington DC on a Norton forty-five years ago in perspective. City Lights to Cellar Door. Custom tank, wind screen, Contis, self-limited to 120 mph max. Good time, no record involved. Purely for the hell of it.

    I didn’t write up my trip. Figured I’d had three close ones on the way, didn’t want to tempt. But now that genie is so far out of the bottle….

    Down side, here, is that now we’re going to see somebody with a non-speed-limited vehicle try to break 25:00. Hopefully they’ll get creative with the fuel tank design and put together a first-rate support team. Doing your own faster refueling at in-and-out rest stops could be worth a half-hour ???

    And what were you guys doing stopped for 46 minutes ???

    Reply
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      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Interesting ideas. Our stops were 9, 12, and 7 minutes for fuel. The rest was 2 stops to add oil and roadside driver swaps.

      Reply
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    Peter Huta
    November 4th, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Thanks for making the run! You must have been working hard. I would like more details when available. I read a comment that some one in St Louis thought they saw your car moving like you were on a mission. Good Day, Pete

    Reply
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      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Yes. That was a really cool comment to see. Thank you for the kind words.

      Reply
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    Bob Hutcheson
    November 5th, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Great actually seeing the car at the cruise-in Sun. I had heard the story the previous week, but I didn’t immediately realize THAT was the car. Hope to chat with you next month.

    Reply
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    hong zhang
    November 14th, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Hi,

    This is Hong Zhang, reporter of Worldjournal which is one Chinese media in LA area. I want to interview Dan Huang couple questions about the cross country trip. Would you mind tell me his email address or phone number? I am waiting for your reply.

    Best,

    Hong Zhang

    Reply
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    Russell Smith
    January 31st, 2014 at 10:23 am

    When I read about this finish time I was amazed. Two things came to mind-law enforcement and fuel mileage. I don’t know what kind of mileage a CL55 gets at 100+ mph but it can’t be good. That tells me you made many fuel stops which eats into the travel time. How far can a CL55 go on a gallon of gas at 100 mph?

    Reply
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      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:38 am

      Our average was just over 13 mpg. Fortunately the additional fuel cells got our range where we needed it to be.

      Reply
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    Dusty
    July 4th, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Ed. I’ve read Alex Roy’s story and would love to know more about yours, especially the prep and the help you got from others. If you have the trip details somewhere I’d love to read them.

    Reply
    • avatar image
      Ed Bolian
      December 5th, 2015 at 9:38 am

      More to come. Check back here for updates.

      Reply

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