When you get that specific itch for a sports car that can float like a butterfly and sting like an eastern diamondback rattlesnake, where do you go? Since 1991, he has smashed numerous speed records and his company has modified over 10,000 vehicles for lucky performance enthusiast around the world.
Who's responsible for this vehicular sorcery you ask? Well you can blame it on the Henny, John Hennessey to be exact. Here's 10 cool facts about Hennessey Performance Engineering.
10 John Hennessey's Wife Is The Real MVP
He's been modifying cars ever since he was 15 years old. A passion that was conceived with John Hennessey's first car, a four speed, four barrel carburetor and dual exhaust 69 Oldsmobile 442. Legend says, teenager Hennessey immediately popped the hood and inverted the cover on the air filter to increase flow, because gains.
In his early professional years, John Hennessey was running a regional company that specialized in asbestos abatement. However, everything changed nearly 30 years ago when Mr Hennessey gave up his successful environmental remediation business with the help and blessing of his newly wedded wife, Hope. With her approval, he quickly welded his passion for high performance and racing and became the founder and CEO of Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE).
9 John Hennessey Always Had His Head In The Clouds
John Hennessey's interest was radically "peaked" after reading an article about everyday car guys entering their vehicles into racing events. This prompted him to buy a brand new Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 which he dubbed the VR-200, so he could pursue his dream of entering the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
After developing his own modifications for power, installing a roll cage and with his very limited off-road experience, Hennessey drove his daily Mitsubishi loaded with spare parts and tools to Colorado for the ultimate rally. He finished 10th, had more fun than anyone on the course and was the only racer who could say he successfully drove his car to and from the event.
8 A Vulture Once Flew Into John Hennessey During A Race
John Hennessey was able to see his passion begin to materialize after participating in a few racing events. He started working out of a rented garage with a single technician where he modified turbochargers, intakes and exhausts. Hennessey specialized in building components for the Mitsubishi 3000 GT, but that quickly expanded to other makes and models like the Dodge Stealth, Toyota Supra, Mazda RX-7 and the Dodge Viper. His early media exposure can be credited to an article in Car &v Driver where he recounted his early races. In one of these races he even encountered a run in with a Turkey Vulture. The giant bird hit his headlight assembly, but despite this, he still won the race. Continued participation at these events established Hennessey as a brand that could get cars to go fast, and it wasn't long before he started gaining national attention.
7 Dodge Sought Out HPE For Advice In Viper Development
An HPE customer once walked up to John Hennessey and asked about competing in open road races, but there was one caveat. This customer was interested in racing in a car Hennessey wasn't accustomed to work on, yet. Shortly after, the first Dodge Viper Venom 500 was born. The Venom 500 ended up winning its class and came in fourth overall with a 164mph average speed at the Nevada Open Road Challenge. Magazine coverage of this Viper was overwhelming, and performance junkies around the world began salivating. HPE quickly became notorious for their work on Vipers and soon Dodge enlisted the company for guidance and advice in the development of their hard top second generation Viper that was released in 1996.
6 "Everything Is Bigger And Faster In Texas"
In 2004 John Hennessey was looking to expand his company, so they purchased Lonestar Motorsports Complex. Located 45 miles west of Houston, Texas, the home of Hennessey Performance Engineering sits on 143 acres and contains a fully operational 1/4 drag strip facility that doubles as a test track. Plans to include a road course are currently in development.
Customers that walk in to the main building are greeted to a diverse showroom of various vehicles from luxury sedans, sports cars to exotics. The facilities contain 20 service bays, 16 vehicle lifts, a welding and metal fabrication shop, a Dynojet 248C chassis dynamometer rated to 1800 rear wheel hp, and even houses a tuning school.
5 Hennessey Performance Engineering Has A Tuner School
HPE's Tuner School is a unique institution that gives the next generation of automotive enthusiast the knowledge and hands on experience they need to become masters in the art of making fast cars faster. Quaintly nestled on the Hennessey Performance Engineering campus, the Tuner school is a 14 week program dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of modifying cars. From basic bolt-ons, to supercharging, turbocharging, tuning the breaks, suspension and testing vehicles on the track next door, the Tuner School program offers the instruction and practical curriculum to make you the next John Hennessey.
4 Steven Tyler's Hennessey Venom GT Raised $800K For Charity
The Venom GT was spawned from playful yet absurd fantasy by the Hennessey performance crew. They imagined what would happen if they mounted a lightweight Lotus Exige with a monster twin turbo engine. The word quickly got out and there was now a demand for this finely tuned Frankenstein on wheels.
Steven Tyler was the first in the world to own the Spyder version of the Venom GT. The Aerosmith front man later passed along the car in auction for charity, raising $800,000. Nevertheless, with a robust 1,244 horses in a car that weighs 1,244 kg, the Venom GT set the Guinness World Record for 0-300km/h acceleration in a production car.
3 HPE Created A Company Dedicated To Making The World's Fastest Cars
If you want to brew up a wicked hypercar, you're going to need a few ingredients in your bubbly cauldron of goodness. The first thing you want to make sure you have is a killer aerodynamic design to achieve the lowest possible drag. Then add a savage power plant, generously apply an insane amount of grip, and sprinkle in the ability to extract every ounce of performance to attain mind warping acceleration and top speed figures and voilà. In 2017, John Hennessey founded a new company called Hennessey Special Vehicles with the mission of designing and manufacturing the world's fastest cars. That year they introduced a new vehicle at SEMA unlike any they've ever fabricated and made their splash in the hypercar scene with the Venom F5.
2 The Venom F5 Is Reportedly Quicker Than Current Formula 1 Cars
Powered by an engine that descended from Mount Olympus. The Hennessey Venom F5 was created with one goal in mind, "to be the absolute fastest road car on earth". The all new twin turbo 6.6L V8 delivers an insane 1817 horsepower and 1193 lb-ft of torque, exceeding their own projections. Hennessey reports that the F5 will offer the best power to weight ratio on the market. According to the HPE website, acceleration from 0-186 mph (300 km/h) will be less than 10 seconds, making the new Venom quicker than current Formula 1 cars. With the F5 having an acclaimed coefficient of drag of just 0.33 that doesn't seem to farfetched. All eyes are watching, as testing is slated to begin later on in the year.
1 The Hennessey VelociRaptor 6X6 Makes Old Glory Cry
Nothing says 'Merica like a massive pickup truck. So when Hennessey Performance Engineering gets their hands on a Ford Raptor, even old glory sheds a tear. One of the unique facets of HPE is their dedication to a wide array of vehicles, including trucks. The Hennessey VelociRaptor 6X6 is pure ferocity on wheels - all six of them! In terms of performance and exclusivity, there is nothing like it. The upgrade includes a boost to 600+ horses via twin turbos, a top notch Fox suspension package and lets not forget six 20-inch wheels with meaty off-road tires. The question on everyone's mind is why? Why is there a need for all that horsepower and torque and three axles and six tires? The answer is simply, why not.