Hennessey: 30 years of making fast cars faster

More than 12,000 customer cars have passed through John Hennessey’s workshop since it was founded 30 years ago. 

In 1991 he modified his 3000GT VR4 daily driver and competed in the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb and Nevada Open Road Challenge races. The same year Hennessey set a class record at the Bonneville Salt Flats and won the Unlimited Class at the Silver State Classic open road race in Nevada. John Hennessey also got married that year and after returning from honeymoon the couple founded the business together.

“At the end of 1991, looking back at that year of motorsport, I realized I’d learned the first rule of auto racing – if you want to make a small fortune in racing, start with a larger one! To continue my passion, I knew I’d have to find a way to pay for it. So, I thought, if Carroll Shelby and Alois Ruf could make a living by building and modifying cars then maybe I could too – that’s how our company began.”

John Hennessey, company founder and CEO

The Texas-based company has stuck to a simple principle that “Too much horsepower is never enough”.

“Hennessey Performance is like one big family to me, and our fantastic customers are a big part of that. As we celebrate 30 years of business, I’m thankful for every customer and my whole team who’ve all contributed to us becoming a hypercar manufacturer and world-renowned high-performance vehicle tuning business.”

By 1997 he achieved an important accolade with his 650hp Hennessey Viper Venom GTS – being the first to break 200mph. Since 2006, the company’s HQ has been next to its own test track enabling the acceleration of its R&D, engineering and tuning business with cars like the 234mph, twin turbo 1000hp Ford GT and 200mph HPE 600 Corvette C7.

By 2010, the business had built its own hypercar, the Hennessey Venom GT. Based on the chassis of a Lotus Exige, the 1244hp monster weighed just 2743lb and was powered by a turbocharged Hennessey V8 that enabled 0-200mph in just 14.51 seconds. The Venom GT set a production car Guinness World Record for the fastest 0-300kmh time (13.63 seconds) in 2013, then followed that in 2014 with another world record, becoming the fastest production car in the world with a 270.49mph top speed.

Truck tuning emerged as a new customer-led trend in 2012 with the 600hp Hennessey Velociraptor beginning a generation of ‘hypertrucks’. Alongside these monsters of the road, the Hennessey team continued its muscle car work with models like its 1000hp ZL1 Camaro – named The Exorcist.

Although the company still delivers around 500 customer cars each year, the Hennessey team is focused on the all-new 100% bespoke Hennessey Venom F5 hypercar. This ‘decathlete of hypercars’ boasts 1817hp from its Hennessey-built 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine and targets a top speed exceeding 311mph (500kmh).

Hennessey top 10 cars of all time

Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 (1991) The car that started it all.

John Hennessey competed in Pikes Peak; Nevada Open Road Challenge (4th); Bonneville Salt Flats (class speed record of 177mph); Silver State Challenge (overall winner, averaging 177mph over the 90-mile race)

‘Fly Navy’ Venom 1000 Twin Turbo (introduced 2005; stock base – Dodge Viper)

Won Road & Track supercar shootout, beating a Bugatti Veyron, with 210.2mph top speed

VR1200 (introduced 2012; stock base – Cadillac CTS-V)

Hennessey ‘tested’ a new Texas Toll Road with its VR1200 running 221mph

HPE600 Corvette C7 (introduced 2013; stock base – Corvette C7 Stingray)

In 2013, John Hennessey was the first to break 200mph in a C7 with his supercharged Corvette Stingray on a closed Texas toll road

Hennessey Venom GT (introduced 2010)

Built by Hennessey; 0-300kph in 13.63 seconds, a Guinness World Record; 270.49mph verified top speed – world’s fastest car 2014-2017

VelociRaptor 600 (introduced 2012; stock base – Ford Raptor)

The start of Hennessey’s truck tuning; 0-60mph 4.2 seconds; 600hp

The Exorcist (introduced 2017; stock base – Chevrolet ZL1 Camaro)

1000hp; 883lb-ft torque; 0-60mph 2.1 seconds; top speed 217mph

VelociRaptor 6X6 (introduced 2017; stock base – Ford Raptor)

$350,000; upgraded suspension; 600hp upgrade with twin turbochargers

Hennessey Heritage Edition Mustang (introduced 2018; stock base – Ford Mustang GT350R)

Hennessey’s 10,000th car; 808HP; 0-60mph in 3.3 seconds

Hennessey Venom F5 (introduced 2021)

100% bespoke Hennessey hypercar with 1817hp V8; 1336hp-per-ton; target +500kph (311mph) top speed; 0-300kph (186mph) in 8.4 seconds


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