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Why the Hennessy Venom GT is NOT a Hypercar


Supercars are status symbols. They are flamboyant expressions of wealth and style. Since the Dusenberg, the wealthy elites of modern society have been scooping up exotic cars to flash their egos around Beverly Hills, Monte Carlo, Abu Dahbi, Las Vegas; take your pick. Dip into that old nest egg for a few hundred grand and you’ve got your pick of beautiful Ferraris, Lamborghinis and so on.

However, there exists an even more exclusive class of car reserved for the tip-top of the one percent. These cars can hardly be called cars. They defy all logic. They are vastly impractical, mind bogglingly fast, and stunning enough to humble Kim Kardashian fresh out of Botox therapy. Furthermore, they have a price tag that sends shivers down the spine of even the most spoiled trust fund babies. A million dollars. Something about the word “million” chills the soul. The few hundred grand an Aventador costs seems rather childish now. Yes sir, we are talking about the hypercar.

What makes a car worth so much money? There must be something we can quantify that justifies spending a million dollars on a mode of transport. As we run down the short list of production hypercars like the Bugatti Veyron, McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari, and Pagani Huayra, we can sort of glean what the title is all about. These cars are stunning works of art, built from the ground up with innovative technologies and jaw dropping styling. The Veyron packs a quad turbo W16 engine, the P1 and LaFerrari utilize a HY-KERS boost system, and the Huayra has jet-inspired aero flaps. Yet, we have one car that seems to buck the trend; the Hennessy Venom GT.

Hennessy Performance is an American tuner shop based in Sealy, Texas that has been modifying a wide range of vehicles to produce huge amounts of horsepower. This doesn’t sound like anything unique quite yet until founder John Hennessy decided he wanted to create his own monster. Harkening back to Carroll Shelby’s battle with Enzo Ferrari in the 60’s, he packed a thunderous amount of power into a lightweight chassis. The Venom is a Frankenstein made from the body of a Lotus Exige that has been morphed beyond recognition and fitted with the heart of a Z06 blown to the moon with power. The car puts own face-melting numbers on dyno charts and has even set Guinness World Records for acceleration to 186mph. Performance is here in terrifying quantity.

You’ll have to write a six figure check to be placed on a waiting list for this slice of madness, which means Hennessy dares to claim this car is in the same class as the aforementioned front-runners. Your wife took half of your Powerball winnings days after claiming the winnings, so you’ve only got money for one mid-life crisis. We have to compare the options. Although the list is short, the decision won’t be a light one. How does the Venom compare to the competition?

The debate could be a long one due to the wide range of specs to match side-by-side, but is that all a hypercar is about? I don’t think so. Hypercars are all about how they make you feel. Beauty, technology and performance combine to send butterflies down your stomach as you take in the sight, sound and smell of the car. All of these factors can be summed up in one word: Art. Artists pay attention to every little bit of detail in their works. From the stitching in the headliner to the width of the carbon-fiber weave showing on the dash, automotive designers devote themselves to perfection. Every millimeter of every surface is weighed and measured. Years upon years are dedicated to the design. Every nut and bolt is unique.

The Hennessy Venom GT is a tremendous achievement , however it simply does not have any of the characteristics of a hypercar, except straight line speed. Speed is only a minor part of the equation. When it comes to styling, the Venom is a bastardized Lotus. Unlike Bugatti, Ferrari and the others, Hennessy didn’t even design a unique style for the car. It was borrowed from another car. The Engine bay is a toolbox with a boosted LS7 which, again, was borrowed from another car. The Venom GT is simply what happens when your run of the mill tuner goes berserk. They took an existing vehicle and modified it more and more until it was barely recognizable. No the car isn’t a Lotus, but it looks like one. No the car isn’t a Corvette, but it shares the same engine. Frankenstein cars exist by the thousands all around the world. There are LS swapped Mazdas, and Supras with basketball-sized turbos. The Venom GT is still a Frankenstein, no matter how you look at it.

Hypercars must be original works of art. They debut space age tech like carbon fiber-titanium weave, KERS, quad turbo, active aero and more. Hypercars are like nothing you’ve seen before. They are unique mythical creatures born from brilliant minds. The Hennessy is a patchwork of existing pieces and thus it has no soul. The way Heidi Montag’s plastic surgery will never make her look as good as Bar Rafaeli, the Venom cannot hold a candle to the competition. John Hennessy deserves all the respect in the world for what he’s done, but speed alone isn’t worth the title of “Hypercar.” My imaginary million dollars goes elsewhere.

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