Hennessey Special Vehicles has peeled back the roof of its Venom F5 hypercar – and added $900k to the price – to create the $3 million Venom F5 Roadster, a vehicle it claims is the fastest convertible in the world.
The Texas-based firm says the Roadster closely follows the technical specification of the Coupe it unveiled last year, including its 1,817 hp (1,842 PS) twin turbo 6.6-liter “Fury” V8, together with a 300+ mph (483 km/h) top speed. That’s with the single-piece roof panel in place though. Hennessey concedes that the Roadster’s performance takes an unspecified hit with the cabin open to the elements.
A small 100-lbs (45 kg) weight penalty over the Coupe is also likely to affect the 3,153 lbs (1,430 kg) Roadster’s acceleration numbers (which Hennessey declines to mention), though since the Coupe can sprint from zero to 249 mph (400 km/h) in 15.5 seconds on its way to 311+mph (500 km/h) top end, it’s safe to assume the Roadster is going to feel shockingly rapid even if it’s a tick less urgent.
We’ll have to wait until 2023 at the earliest to find out for sure how close the Venom Roadster gets to 300 mph with the roof removed, and how much faster it goes than the older Venom GT Spyder, which recorded 265.57 mph (427.4 km/h) at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California in 2016 to set a new speed record for open-top cars.
Hennessey says it will attempt a record when “the production rate levels out,” and since the firm won’t start production until late in 2022, and will also likely want to run the F5’s Coupe’s record attempt first, we may have to wait a while to see verifiable V-max numbers.
Like the Venom F5 Coupe, the Roadster is built around a bespoke carbon-fiber chassis that Hennessey claims needed little in the way of modifications because a convertible version was part of the original design brief. The roof, in common with the other body panels, is crafted from carbon fiber and is held in place by four quick-release bolts and a pair of latches designed to withstand extreme speeds.
It’s lined with Alcantara and weighs only 18 lbs (8 kg), so can be removed by one person, though that’s something you’ll want to do at home. There’s nowhere in the car to store the roof if you decide to take it off when you’re enjoying a thrash through the middle of nowhere, but it does come with a Merino wool storage bag and a custom-made display pedestal for your garage (or living room).
Another Roadster-specific feature is a tempered glass window that replaces the slatted engine cover on the Coupe and gives a much clearer view of the V8 nestling below. Loosely based on GM’s LS pushrod V8 series, the twin-turbo motor generates a massive 1,193 lb-ft (1,617 Nm) of torque, which it channels to the rear wheels through a seven-speed, single-clutch automated manual transmission.
To prevent the motor from frying, now that the Coupe’s engine cover’s slats are lost, the Roadster’s rear panel features a series of milled holes in the carbon skin to let heat escape, plus four aluminum-framed vents on either side of the glass pane that are supposed to replicate the vents behind the front wheels.
Those wheels, incidentally, are unique to the Roadster. Measuring 19-inches at the nose and 20-inches at the back, they’re made from forged aluminum, feature a 14-spoke design in which each pair of adjacent spokes resembles an “H” for “Hennessey”, and are finished off with both the automaker’s name and the word “Roadster” milled into opposite sides of the rim’s outer face. But if that doesn’t sound exotic enough you can upgrade to a set of highly polished aluminum alternatives – so highly polished Hennessey claims they take weeks to complete by hand.
Find yourself fortunate enough to get a chance to try the F5 for size and you’ll find yourself sitting in carbon bucket seats upholstered with sausage-shaped chunks of leather-wrapped foam and facing a U-shaped steering wheel that looks like it was designed for a Peleton exercise bike. And between that and the windshield, you’ll find a large rectangular digital instrument cluster. Hennessey says that Roadster buyers, just like Coupe owners, can choose any interior and exterior color combination, or opt to leave the F5’s carbon chassis and body panels exposed.
Hennessey claims that all 24 build slots for the Venom Coupe sold out soon after the launch last year despite the car costing $2.1 million, and you wonder whether it wishes it charged more. If it does, it’s doing its best to make amends this time around. Hennessey has ramped the price for the Roadster version right up to $3 million (even the Federal Reserve doesn’t think inflation is that bad) and believes it will sell 30 cars.
“The Roadster version takes the Coupe’s speed, exhilaration, and awe, plus a sprinkling of respect-inducing fear, to a new, truly visceral level that brings owners closer to the Venom F5’s extreme performance,” said John Hennessey, company founder, and CEO. “Our 1,817 bhp ‘Fury’ engine screams behind the exposed cockpit, with its roar unobstructed by a roof – it is an unmatched automotive experience.”
What do you think of the Venom F5 Roadster, and how much faster than the old Venom GT Spyder do you think it will go without the roof in place?