Most of us probably just know it as the Cannonball, but its original name was the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash (no wonder it’s just Cannonball now). It was also a slightly different event then what it has turned into, it was purely an endurance challenge to prove you could drive none stop from one coast to the other. The mad man behind the idea was Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker, who made the journey several times. In 1927 he ran from New York to San Francisco in a 2 ton GMC tanker. The tanker you see above isn’t the actual truck he made the drive in, but a replica. It’s ready to make the journey again, but needs a new owner up for the challenge. You can find this truck here on eBay in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas with a BIN of $9k and bidding at $5,600.
While this truck isn’t a perfect replica of the one Baker drove (it’s the wrong year after all), it is quite close to the real deal. It even has a Buick inline 6 under the hood! With the 61 horsepower 274 cui Master Six powering his truck, Erwin was able to complete the journey in 5 days, 17 hours and 36 minutes. He covered a total of 3,693 miles with an average speed of just over 35 mph. I wonder if this slightly newer model could do better?
Things didn’t change much from 1927 to 1929 on the inside of these 2 ton trucks, so what you see here is likely what Baker lived with for nearly 6 days. I can’t imagine spending that much time in this truck. According to the GM Heritage Center, Baker only had about 4 hours of sleep total for the length of the trip. That’s one impressive feat!
Baker was full of nothing but praises for the GM truck he drove, so hopefully this one will prove to be just as reliable. It really is amazing to think that in 1926, a truck and its driver could make the cross country trip non-stop with 12,560 pounds of Atlantic sea water in the tank and not have any issues! This might not be the actual truck that Baker drove, but it would still be neat to have. It would be fun to try and attempt to recreate Baker’s trip in it!