How long do you think it would take for you to drive from New York City to Los Angeles? Having done the drive myself a number of times, I can attest that a leisurely trip might take three full days, and a foolhardy attempt at setting the record in a banged up, nitrous-injected Ford Mustang can be accomplished in just about 40 hours.
The record — recently set by Arne Toman, Doug Tabbutt, and Berkeley Chadwick — is now an astonishing 27 hours and 25 minutes. But the attempt many of us car guys may be most familiar with is probably Alex Roy’s record-setting (at the time) run of 31 hours and 4 minutes in his “Polizei” BMW M5, back in 2006.
That run, which went on to serve as the basis of Roy’s book, “The Driver,” was accomplished thanks to a variety of tricks Roy and his co-driver Dave Maher used to avoid police detection — including top of the line laser jammers, radar detectors, and even chartered aircraft that flew slightly ahead of their BMW to provide early warnings of any upcoming speed traps.
Roy relentlessly plotted his course and departure time, ensuring that he would hit no stop lights, no stop signs, and no traffic along his route. It wasn’t long after Roy’s record-setting run that my brother and I made our own effort in an old Ford Mustang, which I had stuck in storage prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps. We knew we couldn’t beat Roy’s modified M5, nor could we charter any aircraft — but we were young and foolish enough to think we might be able to make a good run of it anyway through nothing more than brute force and our seriously lacking sense of self-preservation.