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BangShift Question Of The Day: If You Were To Do The Real-Deal Cannonball Run, What Would You Drive?

BangShift Question Of The Day: If You Were To Do The Real-Deal Cannonball Run, What Would You Drive?

I’ll cop to the reason why this question has popped up again: Car and Driver magazine recently had a reunion of racers from the original Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash events, where they shared the memories they had of hauling massive amounts of ass across America in the days before satellite tracking and serious helicopter tracking use. Since there was confirmation by Pamela Yates that there will be an upcoming Cannonball Run movie made by Warner Brothers, now would be as good a time as any for you readers to review your selection of ride for the long trip from the Red Ball Garage to the Portofino Inn.


Here’s some of the catches you need to take into consideration: you are running this in modern times, so the idea of blending in with a 1979 Chevy Malibu four-door is pretty much shot. Only you know what route you are taking, so build for what you’d actually drive. We’d suggest something with more than ample room and a decent method for driver and passenger to get some kind of shut-eye, because even the quickest blast out there is over 24 hours straight. You will need to address items such as rear-light cut outs and any necessary electronics, and you have to keep in mind that this is supposed to be a fun event too.

Thinking back to that 1979 Malibu 9C1, we think we’d have to go with a Chevrolet SS, and here’s why: 6.2L V8, six-speed or automatic, very roomy, rather quiet at speed, and once you de-badge the car, cops will have an issue trying to identify it. Everybody else does! The 1979 Malibu ran a NASCAR-spec fuel cell in the back and kept an otherwise stock-ish appearance, and we’d agree wholeheartedly on the concept. Carry fuel, stretch those refueling distances as far as you humanely can, and let ‘er rip. What would you pick?

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19 thoughts on “BangShift Question Of The Day: If You Were To Do The Real-Deal Cannonball Run, What Would You Drive?

  1. steve

    Chevy SS with a LS9 or an LT4 swapped in it, maybe throw on some plain Jane wheels like the ones on the Chevy caprice police interceptors…

  2. Matt Cramer

    The best strategy would be to get something that can cruise at low three digit speeds while being unobtrusive and comfortable. My current Buick Regal with a supercharged V6 would probably do pretty well at that, particularly if I added some suspension mods for high speed stability.

  3. Bowtie Guy76

    Oooh give me a 2007-10 GMC Dually with the LMM Duramax. Build it for 500-600 horse with some more highway friendly gears in the rear end and a transfer tank in the bed so I can haul 150 gallons of fuel and go 2000 miles without stopping

    Oh and the cherry on top… slam it down on Alcoa’s and wrap the roof black with the screaming chicken on the hood and some rally lights on the front as a homage to the Indy Hauler from the movie!!

  4. jerry z

    Give me a black 2004 GTO/6 spd with an LS7. People use to tell me the 2004 is too vanilla for there taste which is why its the perfect candidate.

  5. Oklxs03

    Money no object right? 03/04 Crown Vic throw The ADTR.net suspension catalog at it add ducting for frt/rr brake and spindle coolers and give it NASCAR style blowers to keep it all cool. Fill the huge trunk with equally huge fuel cell add all the cooling you can get for engine/trans/rear end. These cars all have provisions for police equipment so there is plenty of additional circuits already there.
    For the power train coyote/6r80 swap and a Gear Vendors prob need a power adder to add top end so turbo or KB supercharger OR just grab the EcoBoost and 10 speed out of the new Raptor and turn up the tune to “11” add a bunch of Brembo brakes and be ready to tell the grandkids how you kicked ass coast to coast!

  6. Danno

    Whole I am not really a GM guy it would be hard to argue against a CTS-V. Lightly mod it to about 800 HP to up to the speed limit a bit while maintaining reliability. Ultimate in comfort and speed with a trunk large enough for a big beer cooler and plenty of beef jerky. What could be better?

    1. JT

      Maybe go with the CTS-V wagon. More room for larger fuel tanks and what could be less threatening than a nice safe station wagon.

      Cosmetically make it as inconspicuous as possible preferably a nice low key color with a debadged exterior and subtle factory wheels. Stuff it full of any useful electronics and away you go.

      If money was no object I would throw in a couple spotter aircraft to keep you filled in on \”traffic\” conditions.

  7. Don

    I would go with my 2005 Grand Marquis as the base. Big trunk for extra fuel, could be mistaken for a cop car, handles not to bad. The changes I would make are fairly simple, coyote swap with a Kennel Bell supercharger, some changes to the sway bars, and you are set. See you in California in 22 hours or less

  8. NerdNerdNerd

    Chevy astro minivan with SBC engine swap. Plenty of room for oversized gas tanks and room for passengers to stretch out and sleep in back.

  9. Walter Joy

    1970 Hemi Challenger R/T with Plum Crazy paint and Shaker hood. Or 1969 Hemi Superbee in F5 Green but with the A12 hood. Or….1978 Dodge Warlock Little Red Express with either a 383 6 pack and a manual valvebody Torqueflite with T/A hood scoop and American Racing Torq Thrust wheels in gray or with a 426 Hemi Shaker 4 speed and Rallye wheels. These cars would also be A34 Super Track Pack equipped too (Dana 60 4.10 gears 4 speed). That’d be the bomb

  10. William Wilson

    Whatever the FBI/NSA/CIA drive these days when they are trying to look unobtrusive.

    So probably a charger with steel wheels and maybe a police spec front pushbar.

  11. Ben Charlie safari wilson

    39:35 in a 1973 caddy sedan Deville in 2015. For those who just have to run a classic cannonball, one exists. You just have to find it.

  12. Eric Propst

    I have ran it twice with a 1993 Chevy van G30 with a big block Chevy 4 inch lift. Best time of 41:18.

    The next run will be in 2019 and I am preparing a 1979 Ford Granada with a hopped-up 302 and a fuel cell in the trunk my goal is to come in between 35 and 39 hours.

  13. Dave Black

    Ditto the Mercedes CL55 (of course)…or a CLS63. But, if I was going to have an unlimited budget, I\’d build an aluminum bodied police-like cruiser with a hellcat engine, air-leveling suspension, and BIG carbon-ceramic brakes.

  14. F.R.O.

    06 GTO with 6 speed and a lot of work done, SS sedan with holden conversion lsa top end, or E63 AMG Estate.

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