Somebody had to do it, I suppose, shatter the record of a cross-country run in 31 hours and four minutes, set in 2006 in a BMW M5. Well, now we have three guys driving across the country (in a modified Mercedes CL55 AMG) in 28 hours and 50 minutes. They recreated the route of the original Cannonball Run, first staged in 1971.

Brock Yates, a hell-bent-for-leather car journalist, not only originated the run, he also wrote the popular 1981 Burt Reynolds movie (and appeared in it). His fastest cross-country jaunt was in 1971. Piloting a Ferrari Daytona, he did 35 hours and 54 seconds. The point back then was to protest the 55-mph speed limit (this is pre-Sammy Hagar) but now there’s no point at all.

This new team, centered around Lamborghini Atlanta, seems to have done the run for the hell of it. That's their Mercedes above. I would be applauding, but:

  • I think the 55-mph speed limit is a good idea (I might make it 65 though);
  • Cross-country runs at average speeds of 90 mph on public are dangerous, and not just to the racers;
  • They wasted a lot of gas;
  • They're going to encourage other people, undoubtedly less prepared, to try it too. Bolian said, "It really isn't something we need a whole bunch of lunatics doing," but that's exactly what he's likely to inspire.
Did anybody besides me see A Good Day to Die Hard, the latest witless installment in the franchise? Bruce Willis as John McClane and Jai Courtney as his son, Jack, spend the whole movie careening through the streets of Moscow. I forget why. In the process, they wreck 50 or so cars, and cause a dozen or more accidents. Yet no one is hurt!

It doesn’t work that way in real life. When you drive recklessly, people get maimed, people die. That’s the real dying hard. These guys—Ed Bolian, Dave Black and Dave Huang—aren’t heroes, no matter how much they look like it with their arms crossed in the photo. Oh, and if you have time on your hands and want to watch the original Cannonball Run film, here it is, in its entirety, on YouTube:

Related on MNN: Meet the man with 3 million miles on his Volvo

Jim Motavalli ( @jmotavalli ) writes about cars, technology and the environmental world to anyone curious enough to ask.

A pointless and dangerous 'Cannonball Run' across America
Yes, these three nuts drove across the country in less than 29 hours, but they are not heroes.