Yes, yes, we all know the movie of the same name, starring Burt Reynolds and the great Dom DeLuise. But there were actual Cannonball Runs great road rallies from the East Coast to California. They were illegal, they were dangerous, and they were awesome mad, speed-obsessed, automotive odes to America. Inaugurated by Car and Driver writer Brock Yates (who made the first coast-to-coast dash in 35 hours 54 minutes), the Run ran for several years before getting shut down. Various successors came along, including the U.S. Express, the participants of which set a record in 1983: 32 hours and seven minutes.
The aura around the event hasn't faded for some, however. It prompted Alexander Roy (above) to set a new record in 2006 31 hours, 4 minutes behind the wheel of a 2000 E39 BMW M5 specially equipped with reserve fuel tank, racing clutch, and special brakes. He had some help, of course: night vision, GPS units, several radar detectors, a laser jammer, a CB radio, and even a plane flying overhead to help him avoid speed traps and traffic jams.