Ed Bolian and his two friends have shattered the record time for a New York City to California road trip, evading police and traffic to make the 2,800-mile trek in under 29 hours.
“I’ve wanted to break the record since I was 18 years old,” Bolian told Jalopnik.com. “This was always to me sort of the holy grail of American automotive culture.”
The 27-year-old Lamborghini sales director from Georgia was joined by co-driver Dave Black and support passenger Dan Huang.
Using a tricked-out 2004 Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG, the trio left the Red Ball Parking Garage on 31st Street in New York City at 9:55 p.m. on Oct. 19, and later arrived at the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach, Calif. at 11:46 p.m. local time on Oct. 20.
The starting and ending points mirror that of Brock Yates’ infamous ”Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash” – also known as the Cannonball Run.
“It 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.
“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.”
Their time bests the previous records of 31:04 set by Alex Roy and Dave Maher in a BMW M5 and 31:59 set by Richard Rawlings and Dennis Collins in a Ferrari 550 Maranello.
The crew equipped the 2004 Mercedes CL55 with two additional 22-gallon gas tanks to go along with the standard 23-gallon tank, a setup that could hold nearly 400 pounds of gasoline.
The Benz was also outfitted with a police scanner, three radar detectors, several GPS units and two laser jammers to avoid detection by police radar.
With the help of these technological aspects, the additional fuel allotment and flat-out epic planning, the trio managed to stop just three times to refuel, add oil and to take restroom breaks.
Bolian said their car was stopped for only 46 minutes during the coast-to-coast trip, and that they averaged an astonishing 98 mph.
Although most of the trip went as planned, the start was rough. New York traffic got the best of them, despite leaving well after 9 p.m. local time.
“It took us 15 minutes to get out of Manhattan,” Bolian told Jalopnik.
Fortunately, it was smooth sailing after that, as the crew blasted through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.
“I don’t even remember Indiana,” he joked.
He did, however, remember a breathtaking moment where the CL55 flew past a parked Crown Vic cop car in Ohio. Black was driving at the time, and Bolian yelled to slow down – but it was too late.
Thankfully, the scare was short-lived as the cop didn’t move an inch.
The team pushed on, and would be joined by friends throughout the journey.
These friends, driving a lead car approximately 200 miles ahead of the fast and furious CL55, would warn the team of police, construction, or other potential issues. It proved beneficial not only through the first leg, but throughout the entire trip.
“That set the tone for the whole trip,” Bolian said.
“We honestly went pretty much as fast as we could the whole time. We drove in a very careful way and we didn’t do aggressive passing or do any driving on the shoulder, but in order to maintain that kind of average, you’ve got to go really fast.”
Bolian went on to say that “there’s obviously concern” of the possibility of being ticketed or criminally charged.
“I do not advise that anyone attempt this or break the law in any way,” he said. “This type of activity could easily have resulted in our death, imprisonment, or led to a litany of other consequences.
“At the end of the day, I did it for what I think it stands for – a challenge and a piece of automotive Americana.”