South Africa smashed their previous best win in the fixture of 35-9 in Johannesburg 23 years ago as Gloucester wing Iain Balshaw was stretchered off after suffering what appeared to be a serious ankle injury.
Balshaw's replacement - his Gloucester colleague James Simpson-Daniel - scored a second half consolation try that was converted by Jonny Wilkinson, who also kicked a long-range penalty.
South Africa, though, had already done enough by the break, racking up a 27-point lead through touchdowns from wings Ashwin Willemse and Bryan Habana, plus centre Jean de Villiers.
The Springboks did not score between the 39th and 70th minutes but England floundered badly during the closing 10 minutes, as South Africa ran riot to register further tries for Habana, Francois Steyn, Schalk Burger and C J van der Line, while full-back Percy Montgomery slotted 23 points from 10 successful kicks.
It was an unfamiliar England side that took the field led by winger Jason Robinson, with scrum-half Andy Gomarsall making his first Test appearance since late 2004 and the pack containing a total cap tally of only marginally more than 50.
England initially contained their opponents but two converted tries in three minutes took South Africa out of sight. Willemse claimed the first, crossing on an overlap from Montgomery's pass.
The tourists responded impressively with a sweeping Mathew Tait break but flanker Chris Jones fired a ludicrously ambitious pass to back-row colleague Nick Easter, and it bounced straight to Bulls speed king Habana who raced 70 metres to score.
Montgomery's second successive touchline conversion left the tourists in all sorts of strife, despite Wilkinson opening their account through a 50-metre penalty.
Montgomery completed his penalty hat-trick six minutes before the break while centre de Villiers snaffled the loose ball and raced 60 metres to score after prop Stuart Turner spilled Tait's pass, leaving England 30-3 behind at half-time.
With Worcester captain Pat Sanderson on for openside flanker Andy Hazell, England began promisingly after the break. The impressive Tait ran strongly at South Africa, but they could not keep possession for long enough to threaten any sustained attacking flow.
Bristol prop Darren Crompton arrived for his Test debut in the 53rd minute, replacing Turner. England, unsurprisingly, were running out of steam, and a further change saw Roy Winters gain a first Test appearance, replacing Jones, but South Africa continued pressing.
The closing stages resembled little more than a South African training session, and four more tries confirmed the rout .