Aerosmith's Steven Tyler knows how to live on the edge, having led one of the most successful rock bands to ever come out of Boston. That's why, in 2012, he was first to buy the $1 million Hennessey Venom GT, a handmade hypercar from Texas with 1,244 horsepower.
Now, Tyler's car claims to be the fastest production car in the world. The speed? 270.49 mph.
On Valentine's Day, the Venom GT stormed down NASA's 3.2-mile runway at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and came away with that sensational speed. According to Hennessey, the car was still pulling at 270 but there wasn't enough road to continue.
In 2010, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport clocked 267.86 mph around Volkswagen's Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany. It's still the Guinness world record holder, as far as certified records go, of the fastest production car title. Guinness requires two speed runs in opposite directions to account for wind changes, and Hennessey only made one (NASA apparently said no to the second). But official or not, the trap speed is real.
The video below, with President John F. Kennedy's rousing "Moon" speech from 1961 playing in the background, shows how it was possible.
Hennessey Performance, a tuner shop in Houston that began modifying Vipers in the early 1990s, sells the most outrageous engine kits for people who think 500 horsepower is a starting point. The Venom GT is the company's first custom build, and while it started out as a Lotus Exige, this midengine monster is nothing like it. There's a 7.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 1,244 horsepower, which is enough to thrust to 186 mph (300 kph) in 13.63 seconds -- a figure for which Hennessey can claim a Guinness record.
But the Venom GT is much rarer than a Veyron, which can cost up to $2.5 million. When all is said and done, Bugatti will have built 450 cars and Hennessey, 29. So far, only 11 have been sold, including Tyler's. The Venom GT also lacks any semblance of luxury -- it's loud, has a manual transmission and only has what's needed to keep it from flying.
As that early-90s country song says, God blessed Texas.
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About Boston Overdrive
|Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
|Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
|John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
|Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
|Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
|George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee