The Rearview Mirror: A Cheesy Movie and a Real Race


Automobile & Driver deal with picture of the drivers and their cars who participated in the 1975 Cannonball Run.

Cannonball Operate: a tacky film about a famous race. Operate 4 situations in between 1971 and 1979, this week in 1975, the 3rd race was received by Jack May possibly and Rick Cline in their Ferrari Dino 246 GTS, in 35 several hours and 53 minutes, beating the record by just one moment.

While the real race died with its creator, the famous Brock Yates, senior editor of Automobile & Driver magazine, several have attempted to revive it. However, there was only a single “Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash,” its title coming from Erwin G. “Cannon Ball” Baker, who established 143 cross-place driving records in between 1915 and 1933.

“Every automotive competition in the globe is encumbered by a thicket of perplexing principles,” Yates wrote in 1971. “The Cannonball Baker experienced but one particular — All competition will drive any vehicle of their deciding upon, in excess of any route, at any speed they choose simple, between the starting up level and vacation spot. The competitor ending with the lowest elapsed time is the winner.”

There was no prize money only the S-K “Nutmaster” trophy — a free-form sculpture of wrenches, hammers and pliers fabricated and donated by the S-K Resource Enterprise.

Brock Yates, who founded “The Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash.” Photograph Credit history: Motor vehicle & Driver

Why the third race matters

For enthusiasts of a fast and furious way of living, the race has grow to be legendary. But the third race matters for one particular rationale: it is the only 1 recorded for posterity by a person of its driving groups: retired U.S. Military colonel Jim Atwell and Checkered Flag Porsche salesman Chick Stanton, each from Virginia Seashore, Virginia.

They knew of the function, run in 1971 and 1972. But Yates, who resolved who would take part, put the race on hold in 1973 because of to the Arab Oil Embargo, and the moment all over again in 1974 mainly because of the enactment of the 55-mph velocity restrict.

That did not stop Atwell and Stanton, who do a exercise operate from the Pink Ball Garage in Manhattan, exactly where the race starts off, to The Portofino Inn in Redondo Seashore, California, wherever it finishes, getting meticulous notes in an accounting ledger.

Dashing coastline-to-coastline in 36 several hours and 6 minutes, 12 minutes small of the Cannonball record, they earn a coveted place in the subsequent race, operate in 1975. 

To give on their own the greatest prospect of profitable, Atwell procured a new 1975 Porsche 911 Carrera. He also borrows his daughter’s transportable Craig cassette tape recorder to record their operate. It remains the only dwell recording of the authentic race. 

The beginning line

Porsche salesman Chick Stanton, left, and retired U.S. Military colonel Jim Atwell before running the 1975 Cannonball Operate.

Competitors could go away at any time all through the starting up day. As the pair wait around to start off, Atwell turns to his driving associate. “We’re heading to catch Yates between in this article and Columbus,” he claimed on the recording.

“Alright, the stamp is being affixed,” Stanton claimed as a Cannonball sticker is affixed to the windshield. “There it is Jim, let us go.”

Tires squealing, engine revving, pulses racing, the Porsche’s roar reverberates all over the garage as Atwell and Stanton find their way on to the avenue. They make the initially website traffic light.

Man proposes, God disposes

Whichever luck the pair had light upon achieving Pennsylvania. “The weather’s been tough as hell,” Atwell states. “A lot of rain, scud, floor fog and the fields are flooded on both of those sides of the highway.”

In comparison to their 1973 operate, they’re already running slower. The rain persisted via to the Midwest, intensifying the pressure caused by the din of the Citizens Band radio, the radar detector and the Porsche’s non-quit cacophony of engine drone, road sounds and a barking exhaust. 

Erwin G. “Cannon Ball” Baker, appropriate, with his driving mechanic. Baker, for whom the race is named, set 143 cross-country driving information involving 1915 and 1933.

“Although the CB radio is a fantastic warning machine, it is a agony in the ass to have to hear to it continually,” Atwell states. “We’re equally likely to be deaf by the time we get to Los Angeles.”

What the Cannonball demands

It’s really hard to overstate the obstacle of collaborating in The Cannonball Operate. Drivers experienced to keep a superior rate of speed with small ingesting, consuming or sleeping. They had to carry several driver’s licenses, in scenario they have been pulled over and their license taken. And in an period right before ATMs, they experienced to have 1000’s of dollars in funds to pay out for rushing tickets that resulted. Two other racers experienced been by now been nabbed.

“And now, we’re tiptoeing like hell out of Oklahoma,” Stanton grumbles, slowing down to 75 mph. 

“We’re trying to behave ourselves extensive adequate to get out this state,” Atwell states. 

Jack Might and Rick Cline, winners of the 1975 Cannonball Operate.

“That’s not effortless when you have been in the damn condition for 10 hrs,” Stanton replies, laughing.

Closing in on a legend

“We’ve come throughout all the states without a little bit of problems,” Atwell claimed, noting that the 911 experienced designed it effortless. Becoming a Porsche, it’s developed with endurance racing in head. That, and a little bit of luck, observed them in California with no the major problems that had befallen other Cannonball members. 

“We have not had to stage on the brakes sharply, or sluggish the car or truck sharply, or swerve to stay away from anyone we have not even had a around miss with any form,” Atwell mentioned. “It’s been a really easy and uneventful journey.”

“It was entertaining,” Stanton suggests as the pair access the Portofino in 38 hrs and 58 minutes. Averaging 74.5 mph, they spot 7th out of 18 cars and trucks. Amid people who experienced also run the race was Invoice Warner, founder of The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, driving with Tom Nehl, an expert racer and IMSA veteran. But the winners are Jack Could and Rick Cline driving a Ferrari Dino 246 GTS throughout the nation in 35 hrs and 53 minutes, beating the history held by Gurney and Yates.

“It was in excess of,” Yates wrote at the time. “The Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Sprint experienced entered the annals of sporting trivialities, leaving upcoming generations to choose what it intended, if just about anything.”

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