Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE) has ended the production of its much-publicized yet iconic Venom GT. Overall, 12 production models were made, including the Final Edition model. All of these have been sold. In January, a chance to own one of the 12 Venom GT examples reappeared. But, unfortunately, that opportunity has already passed up.
We are referring to a recently concluded auction conducted by auction house Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona. What was auctioned and sold was not an ordinary Venom GT. After all, this Venom GT – the Venom GT Spyder in particular -- was owned by rock and roll icon Steven Tyler, known as the lead vocalist of the famous band Aerosmith.
Evidently, HPE had no plans to produce the Venom GT Spyder, basically a roadster version of the Venom GT. In 2011, Tyler ordered a Venom GT from HPE, but asked if the company could create an open-top version of the high-performance sports car. HPE accepted the challenge and went on to transform the sports car into an open-top car. To achieve this, HPE had to make structural changes, resulting to the addition of 30 more pounds (14 kg) to the Venom GT’s curb weight. Five more Venom GT Spyder examples followed.
Tyler’s Venom GT was then placed under the hammer on January 20, 2017 during the Arizona auction of Barrett-Jackson. Its lucky buyer had to shell out $800,000 just to purchase this particular Venom GT. However, the winning bidder doesn’t only get the first-ever Venom GT Spyder, he or she also gets a guitar signed by all members of Tyler’s Aerosmith band. In addition, the winner gets to have a week of vacation at Tyler’s beach house in Maui.
All proceeds from the auction of the Tyler’s Venom GT Spyder will go to charity, particularly benefitting Tyler’s “Janie's Fund.” Janie's Fund – inspired by Aerosmith’s 1989 hit song "Janie's Got a Gun" – is a charity that helps abused girls.
Built from a heavily modified chassis – including roof, doors, windscreen, cockpit, side glass and even wiper and headlamps -- derived from the Lotus Exige, the Venom GT gained a lot of fame because of its outstanding power levels. Initial examples were powered by a 7.0-liter Twin Turbocharged GM LSX V8 engine that could deliver 1,244 bhp (928 kW or 1,261 PS) of max output power at 6,600 rpm and 1,155 lb.-ft. (1,566 Nm) of peak torque at 4,400 rpm. The engine in the 2016 model of the Venom GT was made more powerful, with max output gaining 207 hp (154 kW) to 1,451 hp (1,082 kW).
The Venom GT managed to set several speed records like Guinness World Record for the fastest two-seat sports car from zero-to-300 km/h in 13.61 seconds (January 2013); world’s fastest two-seat sports car with top speed of 270.4 mph (February 2014); and the world’s fastest open top vehicle with top speed of 265.6 mph (March 2016).