When it comes to one-of-a-kind music stars, Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler belongs in a class of his own. It’s hardly a surprise that the famously flashy singer, songwriter, actor and television personality known as the “Demon of Screamin” would own a rare and elite supercar that’s as inimitable as he is: a Hennessey Venom GT Spyder. Here’s a closer look at this match made in rock and roll heaven.
Steven Tyler was born on March 26th, 1948 in Yonkers, New York. In the late 1960s he moved north to the Boston area, which was a seminal moment in music history: It was here that the band Aerosmith was born. Tyler met his Aerosmith bandmates Joe Perry and Tom Hamilton when they were playing gigs with different bands in New Hampshire. Along with Ray Tabano and Joey Kramer, the three talented musicians joined forces for their first gig as Aerosmith in 1960, and even lived in the same apartment at that time.
Two years after Aerosmith’s formation, another breakthrough moment came for the band when Columbia Records came calling. The prestigious label signed the band, and a year later Aerosmith released its eponymously titled debut album. While Tyler originally found himself fighting comparisons to Mick Jagger, he established himself as a star — and future legend — in his own right with the release of 1975’s hugely successful album, Toys in the Attic.
Unfortunately, the ascent to icon status wasn’t exactly a smooth ride for Tyler Despite its monumental success, the band struggled internally. This was due in no small part to Tyler’s struggles with drug use and addiction, which eventually led to both Perry and Whitford departing the band. And while Tyler had no problem replacing them, Aerosmith still struggled to regain its former luster.
The middle of the 1980s saw a major comeback for Aerosmith with Tyler emerging from rehab and ready to regain control over his career. He more than accomplished this when Aerosmith partnered with rap group Run-D.M.C. on 1996’s smash hit “Walk This Way,” which appeared on the band’s Raising Hell album.
The years that followed saw Tyler’s star rise even higher with hits like “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”, “Rag Doll,” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “Livin’ on the Edge,” “Cryin’,” and “Crazy.” This period of time also saw the group playing to an entirely new generation of fans. While there was some talk of Tyler leaving Aerosmith in 2009, he continued to make albums while appearing with the band.
2011 was another big year for Tyler. Not only did he release his autobiography, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?, but he also took his fame to all new heights as a judge on the reality television show, American Idol. That gig only lasted two years with Tyler later telling Rolling Stone of his decision to leave, “After some long, hard thoughts, I’ve decided it’s time for me to let go of my mistress, American Idol…I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I’m back — but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I got two fists in the air and I’m kicking the door open with my band.”
Throughout his career, Tyler also racked up many accolades, including being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Aerosmith as well as into the Songwriters Hall of Fame with his songwriting partner Joe Perry. Most recently, he can be found performing with Aerosmith during its Las Vegas residency, “Their Deuces Are Wild.”
There’s no denying that Steven Tyler lives life in the fast lane. One more piece of evidence? His impressive car collection, which has included a Pano AIV Roadster, a Porsche Turbo, and — most noteworthy of all — his Hennessey Venom GT Spyder, the world’s fastest street-legal car. Tyler’s was one of only five Venom GT’s to be made in 2013, and the sole convertible of the entire batch. In fact, the car was custom-made to Tyler’s specifications to include both a removable hardtop roof and a 7.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine.
Owner of Hennessey Performance Engineering and the car’s creator John Hennessey told Yahoo! Autos of hand-building the convertible for Tyler, “We had to make a few structural changes to our integrated rollcage in order to be able to fit the removable top. This increased the weight of our vehicle by about 30 pounds to a curb weight of 2743 pounds (1244 kilograms). We decided to increase the Venom GT’s power to 1244 bhp to maintain our one horsepower per one kilogram power to weight ratio.”
While the basic version of the Venom GT sold for $950,000, Tyler put down more than a million with all of his upgrades factored in. Car enthusiasts would agree that it was a worthwhile investment for the sleek two-door roadster featuring both black interior and exterior. The 1,244-horsepower two-seater maxes out at a staggering 275 mph — besting even the Bugatti Veyron — and can reach 60 mph in 2.7 seconds and 200 mph in 14.5 seconds.
Unlike many car collectors, Tyler was unwilling to let this prized possession sit unused in a garage. He was often spotted driving it around Beverly Hills and reportedly liked to “open it up on (Interstate) 10.”
Tyler and his Venom GT Spyder would make headlines again five years later when the philanthropic celebrity auctioned off the supercar for $800,000 and donated all of the proceeds to his charity, Janie’s Fund, which supports abused and neglected children. To sweeten the deal during the frenetic auction, Tyler grabbed the microphone and threw in some extras including an autographed guitar and a week-long stay at his Maui mansion.
While a tagline like “when a Bugatti Veyron seems a little too lame” may seem like fighting words, the Venom GT Spyder more than earns it. But even if you could pony up $1.2 million for a Venom GT Spyder of your own, only 12 Hennessey Venom GT Spyders were made over its six-year production run and just a handful of these were the convertible Spyder model. In other words, your chances of getting your hands on one are even less than your odds of scoring front row tickets the next time Aerosmith comes to town.