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Hummer H1: Ridiculousness in the hands of a few

As soon as the garage door went up and light caught the dust-covered behemoth, I knew I was getting dragged back into a world I’d left decades before, whether I liked it or not.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/07/31/my-hummer-h1-is-large-in-charge-and-in-high-demand
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As an avid Hummer fan I say “Good for You - you did the right thing!” Whether they are collectible right now is debatable, but Hummers will be collector trucks in the future which is why I will never part with my H3 Alpha. Your H1 sure looks like it’s in great condition so hang onto this one or you will regret it. Ridiculous? Maybe, but Oh So Cool and Like Nothing Else … especially the H1s. Even if they bring it back as an electric vehicle, the originals will always have their place as icons in automotive history.

I don’t have a clue of what this guy is trying to say. I’ve driven an H-1 (1999) as my daily driver for 10+ years. It gets me anywhere I need to go, anytime, and has been reliable in all respects. It is scarcely “temperamental”, keeps rumbling on now with 150k miles. Paid $60k for it 14 years ago, and it’s worth close to that now. Tons of ex-military parts for it, mechanically you can get anything that you want. Body/interior parts becoming more difficult. And I don’t know what is “ridiculous” about it, I like having tons of steel around me and knowing I’ll always be able to go anywhere, rain, snow, whatever.

Having a H1 as a daily driver is cool, certainly limited to the wide open spaces, try driving one in NYC every day, if the Mayor doesn’t nail you for 40 years to life, the fuel bills sitting at idle certainly will…

I saw one of these H1’s at a cars and coffee type event several months ago. The owner had tossed the anemic 6.5 diesel it originally came with and transplanted a Detroit Diesel 6V53 motor engineered for a number of different military vehicles. He added twin turbos and a straight-pipe exhaust system.
When he fired it up, the sound it made was not just loud, but very distinctive and powerful sounding. That’s why they are sometimes referred to as “screaming jimmys”.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, isn’t the “wide open spaces” although those aren’t far away. Can parallel park it with the best. Have to make sure the parking garage is at least 6’ 8" with rack on top, once had to deflate tires to get out of garage a might too short, with with central tire inflation/deflation wasn’t a problem. Mileage is about 11 mpg of diesel. Can’t help you with DeBlasio, in the hinterlands we’re scratching our heads trying to figure what rock that guy crawled out from under, and wishing he’d crawl back.

Yep, there are a lot of crazier choices than the H-1 out there. Every now and then, an interesting (and totally impractical) off road vehicle comes up on Bring a Trailer that speak to my interest in (and fantasies about) go-anywhere adventure. Usually it’s a late model Unimog or Stewart & Stevenson LMTV. It takes me a few days to remind myself that, aside from <5mpg fuel consumption, a 45mph max speed, and the need to find a really good truck mechanic, the chances of my entering the Paris Dakar Rally are nil. Back to reality, my 1966 Land Rover 109 SW…

Government Planet has been auctioning off military HMMWVs lately. This opens up the historic military vehicle hobby as a place to show them. Gatherings, rallys, swap meets, and of course a place of honor in the patriotic U.S. parades.

Imagine this- a compact-truck sized version of the Hummer available in all the configurations, 4 cylinder with 6 speed stick.
Not a lot of frills, weight kept in check, good gas mileage.
I could get into that. 4 doors with a small bed is what I’d want. Maybe Rav-4 proportions.

I was at Silver Lake Sand Dunes @20 years ago, riding dirt bikes with a friend when a family full of people pulled up in a very similar wagon version of an H1, but theirs was painted a rusty red color.
They pulled up to the base of Test Hill (the first big dune to climb in the park), flattened the tires from inside the truck to sand traveling pressures (@15PSI-20PSI), and proceeded to drive right up that dune with no pause or hesitation. They hung out along the shore of Lake MI. having fun all day, then later on, they drove out of the park, pulled over to the side of the road at the park entrance, re-inflated the tires to road pressures (again, without getting out of the vehicle at all) and proceeded to drive home…
How cool…

WD, I don’t live in NY, just using it as a “comparitive” we live in Michigan, and we too are 4 X 4 people, Ram 2500 is daily driver. I get it with the Mayor, somebody must like him, he won a second term, he can stay there, as they say "not (him) in my back yard’.

I was an Army Reservist for many years and can tell everyone that the HMMV was so much better than the Chrysler based M880, which was simply a militarized version of a pickup. They even had seatbelts that were disabled. Yet, even the pickup was a vast improvement over the jeeps. We had one turn over and it trapped one of our troops under it while the gasoline was pouring on her. Fortunately the driver was able to turn it back over so that she could get out from under the thing. Although people collect them, they are extremely dangerous. Many were killed when they turned over. The HMMV was a great military vehicle. The fact that it had a diesel engine gave it reliability that the previous gasoline vehicles lacked and also good mileage. Yet, why anyone would want one of them as a civilian vehicle is beyond me. Unless of course he or she lived in a rough area. The few that I saw driving around the streets of California made me scratch my head. Also, the fact that they were over $70K in the 1990s made me think that some people have more money than brains. I guess some want to play Army. If you want to be in the military, join it. Why pay $70K to play make believe? No, I would not buy one.

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You beat me to it. Years ago, when the pickup craze really got going, I remember my Dad saying “Why the Hell would I want to drive one of those everyday? I drove enough trucks during Nam.” Years later with the Hummer, my brother-in-law said the same thing, “I drove, or was driven around in plenty of them…hell, I’ve even rolled twice in them. All these people driving civilian versions are like wannabe soldiers, and the H2/H3 drivers are even worse.”

Hummer owners don’t wannabe soldiers, they just want the coolest, best looking SUVs ever made, in our opinion. By the way, Popular Mechanics voted the Hummer H3 Alpha one of the 51 coolest trucks of all-time. Maybe Hummer haters are just jealous.

I’m not a hummer hater. I just don’t think that the civilian look alikes were worth their huge cost and were all that cool. Those of us who were driven in and/or drove HMMHVs did appreciate being in much more reliable and safer vehicles than their predecessors. Yet, we did it because we were soldiers , not because we were being ‘cool’. They were built for a military purpose and nothing else. Being a soldier is a tough and dangerous profession. Even during training many are injured and some die. We worked with a mechanized unit in which a soldier was decapitated when the tank he was in went under a tree limb while he was riding with his head sticking out of the turret. He probably didn’t even know what happened. Military weapons systems are made to kill and if one isn’t careful, they will kill him or her. I don’t see the cool in weapons. They are made to kill the enemy so that he can’t kill you. The HMMHVs certainly have a historical value and should be preserved as such. I can’t say the same for the civilianized versions. If you think you are ‘cool’ in one, perhaps you were never in the military. I guess if those who love the civilian versions help preserve them, it is better than having them all rot away to be lost in time. Many of the jeeps (1/4 Ton Vehicles) were cut in half to prevent them from getting into the civilian world to turn over and kill even more than died in them in the military. So now, there are much fewer than there would have been if they had not been destroyed. This won’t be the case for the HMMHV nor the Hummer. Enjoy your Hummer. For me, I would much rather drive a car meant for the road.

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for fun check out Toyota Mega Cruiser, factory turbo diesel 15BT, elockers front and rear, 4 wheel steering … a knock off of the H1. I have a liking for the H1. the H2 and H3?? pass.

I have a2000 h1 wagon had to replace the bad stock gm engine with a new and muchly improved AMG engine love the truck easy to work on, go’s anywhere , rides better than a caddy on the highway, no rust ,roof rack is huge it will hold a big tent, makes a great off road camper will pull a house, on or off road, CTI A/C what more could want, I paid 41 in 07 I am sure I could get that today, like it says on the drivers window the most serious 4x4 on earth

and when I play soldier I take my 42 GPW I am a little older I guess

I was commissioned an armor officer in June 1966, and I have first hand knowledge and practical application of tactical wheel vehicles in Vietnam. I would not take myself, or anyone else, too seriously about the martial end-use of such, or any other, tactical vehicle. They can be appreciated for their engineering technology without dwelling on their end-use. They can be appreciated and enjoyed for their engineering innovations that they are.

After leaving the Army, I followed the development of the HMMWV from two disparate perspectives: Armor Magazine, a journal for former Cavalry and Armor Officers and various automotive journals for gear heads. [My bona fides for the latter: Hagerty currently insures; a 1973 Corvette Convertible, 1980 Corvette Coupe, 1984 El Camino, and a 2004 Corvette Z06 LeMans Edition. And until relocating to New Mexico a couple years ago, a 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner and 1960 Buick LeSabre Convertible as well.] They were designed and developed to replace a number of tactical wheel vehicles in military inventory; M151 1/4 Ton GPV, 3/4 Ton ambulances, weapons carriers, commo carriers, and so on.

I saw my first H1 after they were released, and it was a diesel wagon. It was exactly what I would have bought – if I were to buy one. Which I wouldn’t have because I already had a 4x4 PU to suit my purposes more comfortably and for a lot less money. Albeit, with the same atrocious fuel mileage, but I appreciated and liked it as an automotive marvel. So did a recent veteran of the Gulf War. He was admiring the Hummer’s shiny paint and more refined interior who said to the approaching owner, “… want me to show you where we mounted the machine gun pintle?” Now, that was cool.

H2 and H3, not so much. Those are strictly for soccer moms and wannabes.