Jeep Grand Cherokee tuned by Hennessey claims World's Fastest Christmas Tree record

You know, if such a world record actually exists.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
2 min read

Let's face it: If you celebrate Christmas in the evergreen tradition and you don't already have a decorated tree that's been dropping needles in your family room for weeks, you're solidly behind schedule. So consider this light-hearted video from high-power aftermarket tuner Hennessey Performance a pro tip for next year (when Christmas is only a few days away and you still don't have a Blue Spruce or Fraser all tinseled up): When you're running behind, a modified Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk can deliver the yuletide spirit slung atop your roof at speeds up to 181 mph.

That's right, friends: this 1,000-horsepower, Hennessey-modified SUV has the all-wheel-drive grip to trudge your Christmas tree out of the snowy fields, through the woods and to grandmother's house in record time. According to the tuner, on Dec. 19 at the Continental Tire Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas, a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee with Hennessey's HPE1000 upgrade reached 181 mph with a six-foot Douglas Fir from Lowe's strapped down on a suction-cup roof rack. Spencer Geswein of Second Wind Performance Driving was at the helm, and the top speed was verified by VBox GPS.

This isn't the first time Hennessey -- an aftermarket firm best known for ridiculously overpowered muscle and sports cars -- has done this Christmas tree stunt. Back in 2017, it took a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody to 174 mph with a smaller tree on its roof. 

Especially considering how much less aerodynamic a Jeep Grand Cherokee is (even the Trackhawk, which sits lower), 181 mph seems like a genuinely impressive top speed. That said, we might actually be even more impressed that a suction-cup roof rack is up to that kind of abuse than we are with the performance of the underlying Jeep itself. Also, it might be just us, but the stock Trackhawk's 707 horsepower seems plenty powerful for yuletide antics.

In any case, Hennessey says 181 mph is the kind of velocity that makes this a record-setting run for the World's Fastest Christmas Tree. We're pretty sure the stopwatch-wielding folks at Guinness World Records don't have an official category for such things, but for the moment, we're going to give Hennessey the benefit of the doubt. Why? It's the holidays, and we're in a giving mood. (Besides, we're hoping for a 1,200-horsepower C8 Chevy Corvette tree run in 2020.)

Hennessey's Jeep Grand Cherokee is a 181-mph Christmas tree delivery sleigh

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