New Cross Country “Cannonball” Record Set

I was very surprised to see that a new cross-country driving record has recently been established.  I was surprised because I had read Alex Roy’s book “The Driver” about Roy’s and his co-driver, David Mahler, prior record-setting time of 31 hours and 4 minutes.  I thought that the probability of going faster than Roy and Mahler was low.  However the new record, set by driver Ed Bolian, completely shattered Roy’s record by lowering the time to an amazing 28 hours and 50 minutes.  This was 2 hours and 14 minutes faster!


Alex Roy’s Previous Record Setting BMW At The 2007 New England Auto Show

If you are interested in what goes into setting a cross-country speed record, I would recommend Alex Roy’s book “The Driver”.  As an interesting side note on Alex Roy’s book, I bought a prepublished copy of this book on eBay.  When I was competing in the 2007 La Carrera Panamericana, I was having a drink with a fellow competitor in Mexico on our way to the start of La Carrera Panamericana.  I mentioned that I had read an interesting book about a cross-country record run.  It turned out that the fellow who I was having the drink with was a friend of Alex Roy.  He was very surprised that I had this book, as I believe, he said that only five prepublished date books had been prepared.  Alex Roy knew where four of these books were and it turns out that I had the previously unaccounted for fifth copy.  The concern was that the book noted some transgressions that had not yet expired through the statute of limitations.  The official publication date was being coordinated with those statute of limitations.  I told Alex’s friend not to worry, that I would not mention anything about the book until the official publication date. I understand that Alex’s friend contacted Alex that evening to say that the missing book was found and that it was in good hands.

This story makes me wonder if Ed Bolian is still out of jail!

Alex Roy Car (1)

Roy’s Car Was Deliberately Fitted With Confusing Markings

Ed Bolian, a 28-year old car enthusiast from Atlanta, Georgia who had long thought about this record run is the new cross-country record holder.  To set the record he used an unmarked 2004 Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG that had 115,000 miles on the odometer. To make the record run the car was fitted with two 22-gallon fuel cells in the trunk to augment the standard 23-gallon fuel tank in the Mercedes CL55 AMG.

Bolian AMG Trunk IMG_0128

This increased the car’s range to 800 miles.  I understand that they were able to fill the tanks from two gas pumps at the same time which helped to reduce the time lost at service stations.

Ed Bolian IMG_1700

Ed Bolian’s 2004 Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG

In order to make the record run Bolian installed a switch to kill the rear lights, two laser jammers, three radar detectors, a police scanner, two GPS units and various chargers for smartphones and tablets.  This was a very high-tech operation.

NYtoLAride2 Fox News

Ed Bolian’s Mercedes-Benz’ Interior 

The run was made with a crew of three.  Bolian was the driver, Dave Black was the co-driver, and Dan Huang was the spotter and tech expert.  The record-setting crew is shown below.

NYtoLA ride Fox News

Cross Country Speed Record Holders Dan Huang, Ed Bolian, and Dave Black

For the real story behind cross-country racing in the United States I would recommend reading Brock Yates’s book “Cannonball”.  Brock Yates was the instigator behind the Cannonball runs.


This was a very impressive record-setting run.  It would be interesting to find out more about the details of how Ed Bolian was able to do this in such a much shorter time than the previous record.

I want to thank Fox News for the use of their photos of the Ed Bolian car.

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2 Responses to New Cross Country “Cannonball” Record Set

  1. Mike Mazoway says:

    My friend Roger was on I-40 heading back to LasVegas with his new to him SAAB 9-5 Aero when he went by like a streak of… well you know what. Here is the text from his email to me when I posted to some friends a link about the record about a week ago…..”This car passed mw on I-40 as I was driving the 2011 Aero back from MN. He must have been pushing his max speed, flat on the floor, I had the cruse set at 88 and he passed like I was parked. Glad to find out he wasn’t just an idiot, he actually had it all figured out. Thanks for the link, Mike.” Roger

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