John's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Technicians

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Houston, TX

JOHN HENNESSEY

Founder
Hennessey Performance Engineering

“For every one thing that works, there are ten that don’t. If you’re not breaking something every now and then, you’re not pushing hard enough.”

INTERESTS:

Action Sports Engineering

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Hobbies & Pastimes Opportunity Chance Goals Community Passion Failure Education

FOUNDATION:

Learning and Being Challenged

TAGS:

automotive industry, business, car, changing lives, dodge viper, events, hard work, learning, mechanics, modifications, NASA, opportunities, passion, positive, product, product development, racing, school, testing, track

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Says that his interest in the auto industry started as “a hobby that got out of control.”
  • In his mid-20s, using money he made from his construction business, he bought a Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 and decided he wanted to start racing.
  • He first raced in the Silver State Classic in Nevada; ended up coming in 4th place and was immediately hooked.
  • Was inspired by C. Van Tune, editor of Motor Trend Magazine, to race in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado—saw him as an “average guy” and if he could do it, why not him.
  • To keep racing, he knew he had to find a way to make money doing it—he is not a mechanic by trade and knew that he lacked some of the skills needed to do what he wanted to do.
  • He decided to hire a skilled mechanic who could help make the alterations to his car a reality and they eventually began offering that service to customers as well; from there his business was born.
  • He has been running Hennessey Performance Engineering for the past 25 years—“making fast cars faster.”
  • Has become most well known for his work customizing and upgrading Dodge Vipers.

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