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See How A Mercedes-Benz E63 Destroyed The Cannonball Run Record

By Jeffrey N. Ross Dec 04, 2019
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By Jeffrey N. Ross Dec 04, 2019
How to drive from New York to L.A. in less than 28 hours.

One of the greatest car movies of all time is The Cannonball Run, which features Burt Reynolds and a full cast of A-listers who portray Brock Yates's cross-country Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. Rather than attempting the outlaw feat in a Dodge ambulance or high-powered sports car, though, Arne Toman and Doug Tabbutt used a modified Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG sedan. They didn't just set a new record for this highly illegal drive; they absolutely destroyed the previous record set back in 2013.

To officially qualify as a Cannonball Run, the drive must begin at the Red Ball Garage in New York City and end at the Portofino Hotel in Los Angeles, and Toman and Tabbutt did so in a blistering time of just 27 hours and 25 minutes. To put that into perspective, the very first record run for this drive was 40 hours, 51 minutes back in 1971, while the more previous record of 28 hours, 50 minutes has stood since 2013. As part of the behind the scenes looks at their record-breaking run, past record holders sent messages of congratulations to Toman and Tabbutt.

Using an E63 AMG made perfect sense especially when this car was tuned to around 700 horsepower, but they settled on this sedan for its unassuming design as well. All of the car's badges were removed and silver vinyl was used to alter the look of the car, which paid off for the team in Iowa as the police scanner picked up vague reports of a "silver passenger car" that was speeding. In addition to the police scanner, the car was fitted with a CB radio, thermal scope, radar detector, radar jammer and an aircraft detection system. Oddly enough, the inside of this Mercedes ended up looking like Jackie Chan's modified Subaru from 1981's The Cannonball Run! In addition to the vehicle modifications, Toman and Tabbutt also enlisted friend Berkeley Chadwick to be an in-car spotter as well as a network of more than 20 other spotters set up across the U.S.

See How A Mercedes-Benz E63 Destroyed The Cannonball Run Record
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The tuned engine and altered looks made this car idea to tackle the cross-country trip, but the biggest modification was a 45 gallon fuel cell mounted in the truck, which more than tripled the car's fuel capacity when including the factory 21-gallon tank. This provided a driving range of over 500 miles per tank requiring just four fuel stops and only 22 minutes of stoppage. This setup allowed for an average speed of 103 mph on the 2,825.3-mile journey, which includes hitting a top speed of 193 mph! 

Source: VINWiki


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