Surely we have all heard of the legendary race that was once driven by amateur drivers, and whose route was from one coast to the other in the United States. Even if you haven’t heard of it, then you’ve probably seen movies from the eighties, such as “Cannonball Run” and “Gumball Rally“, where an identical formula was followed. The organizer of this race was the professional journalist Brock Yates, and the competitors took action for the first time, in May 1971.
The last official “race” was run 8 years later, and over time, attempts to outdo other cars were replaced by racing over time. This means that the goal was no longer to reach the desired location before other cars, but to surpass the previously set time record.
In this “classic” Cannonball race, as things stand, we have new champions, and it is the team of Arne Toman, Doug Tabbutt, and spotter Dunadel Daryoush who covered a distance of 4,506 kilometers, from the cities of New York to Los Angeles in 25 hours and 39 minute (during the COVID-19 pandemic). The previous official record was held by a man named Fred Ashmore, and he crossed the same distance on his own in a rented Ford Mustang in 25 hours and 55 minutes.
And one more note, this is not the first time that Toman and Tabbutt have broken the record, and they did it earlier in November last year, when they found themselves behind the wheel of a Mercedes E63 AMG.
Saab 9-5 in the Cannonball!
But in these egoistic races, which are on the verge of legality, one Saab has found its place – a modified Saab 9-5 Aero that set one of the Cannonball records.
The team of Nik Krueger, Mark Spence and Wesley James modified the 2008 Saab 9-5 Aero and set a new record in coast-to-coast and back races – at an average speed we can hardly believe has been achieved.
The average speed of the car with all the stops was 86 mph or about 140km/h!
Completed in a 2008 Saab 9-5 Aero they pulled off a 65:28 going 5631 miles from New York City’s Red Ball Garage to the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach near Los Angeles, and BACK! An impressive time for sure and in a Saab to boot! Just imagine, from New York to Los Angeles and back in just over 65 hours on the Saab 9-5 Aero.
Of course, this endeavor required special and long-term preparations, both from the actors and this Saab car, which worked almost constantly near the maximum.
When you take a closer look at the numbers, this team and Saab 9-5 achieved an amazing result: the average speed of the car with all the stops was 86 mph or about 140km/h! This record is practically on the trail, and in the spirit, of the famous Saab endurance test known as “The Long Run”. Of course, then the length of the road and the higher speed were achieved, but in controlled conditions, also on the race track. While this record was set in public traffic, without the support of a large team and mechanics.
To the joy and great satisfaction of all fans of Saab cars and speed, a few days ago Lee Kelso (SAAB Talk LIVE) managed to bring this record-breaking trio in front of the microphone, so thanks to this you can hear first hand how Saab set a new record:
This is an extremely interesting Saab story that will be talked about for a long time in the circles of speed lovers. Of course, driving at such speeds is certainly illegal, so the team had to break the record in great secrecy.