A Man Drove Solo Across America in 25 Hours 55 Minutes in a Rental Mustang
Fred Ashmore rented a Mustang GT, crammed it full of fuel tanks, and drove from New York City to Los Angeles in under 26 hours, shattering the solo Cannonball record.
BY ANGELO MELLUSO
You’ll be forgiven for stifling a yawn as we delve into the details of yet another Cannonball record. And although the overall New York City-to-Redondo Beach, California record has allegedly been broken again by some folks who have not yet emerged from the shadowy world of hearsay and conjecture, that’s not the one we’re going to tell you about today. What we’re here to talk about is a record that’s so stupid it’s brilliant, and so crazy it’s just about what we’ve come to expect as the elapsed times on these ill-advised adventures have crept ever closer to the 24-hour mark.
We’re talking about a solo run. One man, one car, a whole lot of gasoline, and an alleged 25-hour, 55-minute elapsed time. That’s an average speed of nearly 108 miles per hour.
If you’ve been following our coverage, you’ll know that a lot of people got excited last November when Arne Toman, Doug Tabbutt, and Berkeley Chadwick destroyed a coast-to-coast timethat had stood since 2013, behind the wheel of a superbly prepared, blisteringly fast 2015 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG sedan that carried them across this nation in 27 hours and 25 minutes. You’ll also know that, since then, we’ve offered limited coverage of the rash of coast-to-coast record attempts made since then.
And you’ll recall some measure of derision aimed at the trio (or quartet, who knows) of shteebs who borrowed someone’s daddy’s Audi, ratchet-strapped a couple of marine fuel tanks into the trunk, and blasted to glory while most of the country was closed as a global pandemic exacted its grim toll.
But while most of us were twiddling our thumbs at home during the COVID-19 closures (or mourning the loss of our jobs, or dying), a handful of scofflaw endurance drivers were busy making tracks from New York to L.A. Several of these were solo runs, and those of us in the know watched, amazed, as the time it took one person to drive 2800 miles nonstop plummeted from the low-to-mid-30s to just under 28 hours. Even those times, set only a few months ago, were blown out of the water recently when Fred Ashmore, 44, of Hancock, Maine, rented a Mustang GT, removed its passenger seats and other interior accessories, strapped in enough extra fuel tanks to bump the car’s capacity to around 130 gallons, and made the trip from the Red Ball garage in Manhattan to the Portofino Hotel & Marina in Redondo Beach with only one stop for fuel.
“The Mustang GT will not go any faster than 159 miles per hour,” he told Road & Track. “Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.”