Cannonball, also known as Carquake, is a 1976 film starring David Carradine. The film is one of two released in 1976 (the other being The Gumball Rally) that were based on a real illegal cross-continent road race that took place for a number of years in the United States. The same topic later became the basis for the films The Cannonball Run, Cannonball Run II and Speed Zone!. The film was written and directed by Paul Bartel, who also directed Death Race 2000.
The name of the film and the plot were inspired by Erwin G. “Cannon Ball” Baker, (1882-1960), who traveled across the U.S. several times, and by the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, an illegal cross-continent road race introduced by Brock Yates to protest against the 55 MPH speed limit.
The Pontiac Firebird is an automobile which was built by the Pontiac division of General Motors between 1967 and 2002. The Firebird was introduced the same year as the automaker’s platform-sharing model, the Chevrolet Camaro. This coincided with the release of the 1967 Mercury Cougar, which shared its platform with another pony car, the Ford Mustang.