By on February 19, 2010

Other, more enthusiast-oriented blogs have already cooed approvingly at the Hennessey Venom, which is set to debut in the next several months. We take note of it only because of how familiar its formula is. Take a lightweight British roadster, slap in a fire-breathing American V8 (in this case, a 1,000 hp twin-turbo version of the Corvette ZR1′s mill), destroying the donor car’s immaculate balance and creating something that rates higher on the gee-whiz-ain’t-it-cool meter than on any remotely utilitarian measure. Sound familiar? If it doesn’t now, it might in a few decades, when Hennessey unsuccessfully attempts to sue enthusiasts who build replicas of its entirely unoriginal supercar.

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20 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: AC Cobra Redux Edition...”


  • avatar
    twotone

    It looks like a terrible accident during the “all you can eat spaghetti night” at The Olive Garden.

    Twotone

  • avatar

    Shelby suing somebody for a copying a Peter Brock design? What lunacy!

    If I recall my history right Brock’s only advocate within Shelby’s company for the body change of the original AC design was Ken Miles. Shelby only approved if it was done in their spare time. Not until the new coupe prototype beat the roadster’s lap record at Riverside (Miles at the wheel), and Ford promising to back Shelby for the constructors championship did the GTO-beating coupe get the green flag internally. No wonder Shelby lost this lawsuit…

    As for the ZR1 in a Lotus concept, am I crazy for wanting to go completely the other way? I’d love to see a 1.9L VW (A4-era) TDI engine in an Elise. All the handling and fun, with 2X the MPG. I wouldn’t want to go 150 MPH in an Elise, but would love to make my commute a blast while getting 60 MPG on home-brew fuel.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Nguyen Van Falk

      Right on!

      This is on par with the Tomahawk motorcycle built around a viper v10. Except that was just a way to frame that ridiculously awesome engine at auto shows and give Jay Leno another toy to compensate for his pandering garbage material.

      The whole point of the Lotus is that it doesn’t need a beastly motor in it to be very fast. It’s about lightness, composure and agility. This is dumb.

      Let’s throw a blown LT-1 into an RX-8! Or maybe a Cummins diesel into a Miata! Totally sweet, bro!

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      I get 60MPG on home brew, too. Oh wait I think we’re talking about different things.

      +1 on diesels in light weight cars just to see what can be done. Although I’m pretty sure a Cummins would be awfully dang heavy for a Miata. There is a company that puts Mustang V8s into Miatas christening it the “Monster Miata.” http://www.monstermiata.com/

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    The venom name suddenly means a lot less when it is based off of a plant instead of a venomous snake.

  • avatar
    Ernie

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’ve just got their colors wrong (cold air = red, warm air = blue) and this is showing how it draws in cool air . . . or someone’s kid was just painting flames on the photo, so whichever.

    I knew nothing of that law suit . . . my only capitalist response is:
    If you don’t want people buying copies . . . don’t stop making the original.

    Chuck – Crazy, yes, but that’s ok, we all have weird fantasies. I’d like 1000hp some day, but in something that actually needs that much power . . . I’ve got a friend that’s into Lotus cars; he just can’t convince me to drive a car that will go EVEN FASTER if I drop 50lbs . . .

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    Stink lines are supposed to go up…

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Save for the different appearance, what IS the point of a car like this? (Other than the obvious profit motive….)

    This car will do zip, zilch, nada, nothing, zero, that you could not get by jamming the same/equivalent mill into any one of half a dozen Cobra replicars.

    As a shop-owner “I had one lying around so I built it” project this thing is innocuous enough. Not sure how anybody (‘cept Hennessey of course) can look at this as anything but a shallow money grab.

    1000HP in a short-wheelbase small car is pretty useless, except for braggin’ rights down at the local Hooters’ car show.

  • avatar
    Mr. Gray

    The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 uses 4WD, specifically formulated tire compound, 265′s in front, and 365′s in the rear in order to control its 1000hp output, not to mention the 20in. diameter wheels neccessary to house the proper size brakes.

    And that’s just scratching the surface of the modifications that would be required to make such a swap viable. You would have to reconfigure practically every aspect of the vehicle’s drivetrain for this to work. I wonder whether Hennessey is planning on doing all this.

    Power to weight ratio is not the only factor that determines a car’s performance. Then again, Hennesey may just be going for car-show bragging rights, as Porshespeed mentioned earlier.

  • avatar

    It’s not a novel idea, even with the Elise. Way back in the mid 1990s, when the Lotus Elise was first introduced, I was on a mailing list for Lotus fans. The head of PR for Lotus at the time participated on the list. He said that to give Lotus flexibility in sourcing the powertrain, the engine bay was designed to accommodate all know front wheel drive powertrains in production at the time. I specifically asked about the Cadillac Northstar and the Ford modular V8 used in the FWD Lincolns and he said, yep, they’ll fit. I’m sure you’d have to beef up the transmission, and I’m not sure if all the plumbing will fit on the FWD version, but the LC3 version of the Northstar in the STS-V had a supercharger and 440 HP. Not 1000, but about twice as much as the most powerful Elise.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Nguyen Van Falk

      Yeah, the engine bay was designed to accommodate larger engines. Was the chassis designed to handle the power? Just because it fits doesn’t mean it can handle that kind of output elsewhere in the car.

      The point about the Bugatti above is great. Why does this thing even need this kind of power? Indy car engines don’t even put out 1,000 hp. This is just stupid.

      This if for a man born without a brain or penis.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    @Ronnie,

    I’m sure one could make the case for a ~450HP Elise. And it would actually be drivable and usable. (and more reliable and enjoyable as well…)

    See, now THERE’S a good garage project.

    I didn’t run into anybody from Hennessee at PRI this year or I woulda asked WTF they were doing building this thing. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure I know the answer for 1000HP in a tiny car anyway – press and money.

    As much as we love cars, it is still a business.

  • avatar
    cardeveloper

    Hennessey has such a wonderful reputation. Hard to believe they are still receiving press coverage???

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Not surprising that they are receiving press coverage.

    What IS surprising is that it is not coverage of one of the many Viper owners burning his shop to the ground, while dancing around with Hennessey’s head on a pike.

    he has quite a rep in the Viper community, yet still he seems to find customers. Sorta like Lingrenades…


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