Hennessey Performance Engineering (HSE), founded in 1991, is an extension of its founder’s competitive spirit, engineering creativity, and a burning desire to find ways to keep going faster and faster. John Hennessey started out racing his daily commuter (a modified Mitsubishi 3000GT) in Nevada open races, the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb, a record-setting run at the Bonneville Salt Flats, and where ever he could find an open slot. John was already a successful entrepreneur in the environmental services industry but was constantly looking for ways to supplement his ever increasing racing budget. To this end, he began building and modifying vehicles for racers with similar goals as his; that included primarily turbocharged imports such as the 3000GT, Mazda RX-7, and the Toyota Supra.
This would all change in 1993, when a customer who was impressed with the efforts of HSE in Nevada open events, came to John with a challenging new project. The man owned one of the first Dodge Vipers ever sold in the U.S. and he sought to have it modified in such a manner as to make it more competitive in similar racing events. Modifications to the Viper resulted in approximately 100-additional horsepower, prompting John to name the newly modified Viper, the Venom 500 Viper. The Viper drew media attention after posting an average of 164-mph in the Silver State Challenge as one of the very first Dodge Vipers to participate in any type of competition. Once the Venom 500 Viper had the eye of the media, the demand for the V10 powered modifications became overwhelming. With such names a Jay Leno and Bob Lutz as clients, Chrysler executives soon began purchasing the modifications and HSE was submerged in building Venom 500 Vipers, exclusively. At this point HSE had grown to include over a dozen employees and was operating from a 30,000-square-foot aircraft hangar, in Houston. The Viper business was good and the company continued to grow.
In 2005 HSE turned another corner. A successful businessman, friend, and client of HSE, Don Goldman, decided to take an early retirement and act on his dream of collecting performance cars. He had a specific desire to own a Ford GT that could reach speeds of well over 200-mph, in less than a mile. Upon successful completion of the project, a new market was opened up. The modification of Ford GT racers was added to the HSE arsenal. During the developmental period of the GT, Goldman was instrumental in mentoring and partnering with Hennessey to obtain the Lonestar Motorsports Park drag strip facility. Due to the nature of the vehicles that HSE produces and the need for extensive testing, a drag strip type facility is absolutely vital to the continued growth and development of the company. As of 2008, the property adjacent to the Lonestar Motorsports Park is now headquarters to Hennessey Performance Engineering, as well.
HSE continues to keep their finger on the pulse of the automotive market, staying one step ahead of high-performance factory produced automobiles, offering performance modifications in varying degrees of intensity. In addition to the Dodge Viper line, HSE also offers extreme modifications for the Chevrolet Camaro, Corvette, and SS, the Ford Raptor pickup and Velociraptor SUV, Ford Mustang, Cadillac CTS-V, as well as Dodge Challenger and Charger models and an endless array of high-line supercars.