The First Cannonball Run

The 1927 GMC Model 40, two-ton tank truck that completed the first Cannonball Run.
The total run took over five days and covered 3,693 miles.
  • Started by E. G. “Cannon Ball” Baker
  • Record-setting race
  • Record-setting race
At 8:48 p.m. on September 6, 1927, a 1927 GMC Model 40, two-ton tank truck left New York City headed for San Francisco to set a transcontinental speed record for trucks. The driver was E. G. "Cannon Ball" Baker, a famous race driver who had made several similar trips in cars and a motorcycle but never a truck. The truck was loaded to capacity with Atlantic Ocean water and weighed a total of 12,560 lb.

He reached San Francisco at 10:24 a.m. on September 12, just 5 days, 17 hours and 36 minutes after leaving NYC. Total distance covered was 3,693 miles, for an average speed of 35.5 mph. After an official welcome from the mayor and many others, they completed the ceremonies by backing the GMC truck down to the shore and dumping the Atlantic Ocean water into the Pacific Ocean.

Baker had driven the entire trip with only about four hours of sleep.