Oak Grove HS, Class of 1973
Owner, Hennessy's Automotive
Mike Hennessy has lived a charmed life of working hard and always giving back to the communities that raised him. Born in Arizona, he moved to California at the age of five and never left. As a part of a family always on the move, he attended four different grammar schools and two different high schools. At the age of 12, he was bitten by the car bug and acquired his first vehicle in exchange for cleaning for the lady who owned the car. He got the car running, the first of many, and cars have ever since been an important part of his life, as well as his ability to give back to his communities.
Mike obtained a driver’s license at the age of 13 with a questionable birth certificate, drove to high school as a freshman and gave his friends a ride home in exchange for help covering gas. Sports came easy to him, and he was always engaged in baseball or football at many different levels.
Oak Hill High School Football Coach Lou Tully helped him get an audition for a pro football team, but he moved on after a year and established a track record of making money fixing cars, hanging garage doors, and the like. He then bought one gas station and then another and moved on to buying a larger building that could house his collection of classic cars for sale. As he became successful, he started mixing cars and charities and giving back even more. He invented “Hot San Jose Nights” — a combined car show, auction, and parade — built a wonderful car collection, and developed a five-time award-winning TV program on The Car Guy Channel.
A key figure in the Rose White and Blue Parade for many years, and toy collections for children for Christmas and Easter, Mike has been honored by the San José City Council and received an award as Businessman of the Year from State Senator Dave Cortese. He currently supports many parades, memorials, and events, and his most recent endeavor of giving back features a car coloring book for children with cancer. Mike attributes any successes he has had to his lovely and loving wife Susan.