When I first starting writing CorvetteBlogger ten years ago, I remember reading articles on the major auto blogs about work that was being done at Hennessey Performance Engineering and there would always be a few comments from those who said that founder John Hennessey’s business dealings were less than stellar.
Over the years those sort of the accusations seemed to fade away as Hennessey continually self-promoted their work with quality videos of various Corvettes and other performance cars undergoing dyno or performance testing. Our favorite was the new C7 2014 Corvette Stingray breaking 200 mph on a Texas toll-road with the blessing of the Texas State Police.
As of Tuesday though, our opinions have changed as Jalopnik published an expose on the Texas-based tuning shop and as we said in the title, it isn’t pretty.
According to the article, Jalopnik alleges that Hennessey took money from several middle eastern customers and then never delivered a car. One such customer named Ahmed Ali from Qatar shared emails with Jalopnik which show that Hennessey was paid $75,000 for a new 2014 Corvette Stingray that would then undergo upgrades. The Corvette never materialized and after constant delays lasting nearly two years, Ali requested a full refund. It was only after Hennessey learned of Jalopnik’s investigation that a partial refund of just under $5,000 was offered.
But it gets worse.
Six ex-employees of Hennessey Performance Engineering talked with Jalopnik about Hennessey’s business practices and a constant theme has emerged:
The ex-employees’ corroborating accusations included misusing company funds, using one customer’s deposit to build another one’s car, passing off subpar parts and components as exclusive and top-of-the-line equipment, using underhanded tactics designed to prevent clients from getting refunds, and consistently failing to deliver certain customers’ cars—especially when they were foreign buyers.
The article also mentions the questionable practice of having customer cars sit for months on end without any work being done. Once the customers began to complain about the lack of work and threatened refunds, the drive trains were removed from their cars and pictures sent with claims that work was being done. The ex-employees stated that this was done not only to placate the customers, but to make it harder for a customer to reclaim their vehicle as it was literally in pieces.
Hennessey responded to Jalopnik with a statement saying that despite their high standard of excellence and meeting client’s expectations, recent disruptions in their operations are due to management issues. HPE has said thay have made changes to the organizational structure and they have been in contact with their clients to “address and resolve any issues that arose prior to the management and operational restructuring”.
The Jalopnik article is an amazing look inside one of America’s premiere Corvette tuners and unfortunately it’s a sad moment for those customers who trusted John Hennessey with their Corvettes and have claimed that HPE never delivered on their promises.
You can read the entire expose on Hennessey Performance Engineering at Jalopnik.com.
[VIDEO] Hear the Roar of Hennessey’s HPE 1000 C7 Corvette Stingray in Action
[VIDEO] Hennessey Track Tests Their HPE800 Corvette Z06 Convertible
[VIDEO] Hennessey Corvette Stingray Breaks 200 MPH on Texas Toll Road