The ad says 2010 Lotus Elise because the car is titled as such. But what we’re really looking at here is a 2014 Hennessey Venom GT, which just happens to be the fastest production car in the world. A Venom GT has been recorded at 270.49 mph.
This is advertised as the last of only nine made, and the sole example finished in white, but apparently there was a subsequent Venom GT that came with 1,471 horsepower. The Pennsylvania dealer doesn’t state how much power lurks in the engine bay. There were three levels of tune available: 735 hp, 1,013 hp or 1,261 hp.
Either way, it isn’t even run in properly yet because the odometer reads just 745 miles. The car was completed in February 2014, at a cost of $1.5 million. So, the asking price of $1.25 million isn’t that crazy. Here’s the story of how this car came to be.
It started out as a little 2-seater, made in a factory in the east of England. Lotus is well known for making light sports cars. The Elise has an aluminum frame where the parts are essentially glued together. Over that goes a fiberglass body. Power comes from a reliable and polite Toyota 4-cylinder. And just to stop things from getting lardy, the Elise doesn’t bother with conveniences like mats or even well-padded seats. The result is a wonderfully responsive, sprightly and compact sports machine. However, to become a Venom GT, not much remains original.
Hennessey is a tuning company with its own track and drag strip, based in Sealy, Texas. It’s particularly well known for making the intimidating Dodge Viper even scarier. The Venom GT has been described by boss John Hennessey as “the supercar I’ve always dreamed of building.”
Hennessey took the 2010 Lotus Elise, changed most of the body parts to carbon fiber and upgraded the suspension. He even stretched the frame to accommodate a 7.0-liter Chevy V8 (an LS7 small block) that’s been significantly strengthened to deliver and cope with all the churning power its twin turbochargers are capable of producing.
The top spec is 1,261 hp at 6500 rpm and 1,155 lb-ft of torque at 4200 rpm, and that’s not even at the very edge of its capability. Hennessey says the engine could make 2,027 hp. In a light car, about 2,750 pounds, even the lowest tune is borderline insane — and, oh, how we’d love to drive it.
Somehow, a six-speed manual transmission and rear axle from a Ford GT manages to put those forces to the pavement. When the time comes to hit the brakes, which should be just seconds after prodding the gas pedal, the Venom GT has Brembo carbon-ceramic brake discs, a brand often found in actual race machines as well as high-end road cars.
When you think about it, you could have covered those 745 miles in just three hours if you’d been on a giant circular track. Whoever acquires this car will have a whole different angle on the much-mentioned “special relationship” between the United States and Great Britain.