Ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger laid eyes on a HMMVee (Hummer H1), he saw something in it, the same way as everyone else: an unstoppable force on chunky wheels. And the rest is history. Next, the 1990s saw a flurry of Hummer H1s, which featured in pop songs and music videos, until eventually, it became an icon and an American automotive legend courtesy of its military-inspired design and rugged lineage. Thanks to a handful of engine modifications and a beefy Duramax V8 diesel, the Hummer H1 could boast 300 horsepower and 520 lb. ft of torques, enough to propel it from 0 – 60 mph in a dramatic 12 seconds. Albeit not the fastest of the lot, the Hummer H1’s performance on the road was overshadowed by its off-roading marvel, with many calling it an ‘offroad warrior’. However, failure to keep up with the rising emission tests meant a short production run for the Hummer H1. While the less limited versions with high mileage can be yours at a modest $50,000, the limited versions with low accumulated miles command collector-worthy prices, ranging from $150,000 to $250,000!
In 1979, the Hummer H1 started its life as a military vehicle called the High Mobility Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). Nicknamed HUMMVee, the Hummer featured in several U.S. military campaigns, including the Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm, and thanks to its sheer off-roading capabilities, it saw tremendous success. Soon, the AM General was assigned to manufacture 50,000 military-spec HUMMVee units at their facility in Mishawaka, Indiana. Until 1992, the HUMMVee was strictly made for military use; however, the multi-purpose SUV soon caught the attention of the Terminator movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who contributed significantly to bringing the H1 to the civilian market. The civilian H1s retained significant parts and components from their military counterparts, including brakes, frames, and axles, except, of course, machine guns and bulletproof body panels! Soon, in 1999, the rights to the 'Hummer' brand name were sold to General Motors, which began working on the 2nd generation Hummer H1 (Alpha) to help it beat emission and reliability tests. It bore some 23 engine modifications, including a new and powerful engine and some luxury, albeit a bit basic, features. A total of 729 H1 Alphas came off the production line in 2006, making the H1 Alpha relatively rare and expensive. Unfortunately, GM had to conclude the Hummer H1's production run in 2006, with 11,818 units produced between 1992 and 2006.
Early Hummers could be opted from a range of Detroit V8 diesel engines, including a 6.2-liter and a 6.5-liter, mated either to a 3-speed auto or a 4-speed auto. Nonetheless, the H1's engine and excessive weight of around 3.7 tons weren't a good combo, accelerating from start to 60 mph in a sluggish 16 seconds and topping out at 83 mph. What you'd want, however, is the mighty Duramax 6.6-liter V8 Turbo Diesel, paired with a 5-speed automatic gearbox. The Duramax engine was rated at around 300 hp and 520 lb. ft torque, helping push the H1 from a standstill to 60 mph in 12 seconds and topping out at 96 mph. Clearly, GM wasn't particularly focused on making the Hummer H1 sporty or fast around the track. It did, however, intend to make it an off-road warrior. This meant an impressive ground clearance, several off-road goodies, including an (optional) Eaton Electronic ELocker front and rear differential, a 12,000 lb. winch, in-board mount disc brakes, functional geared hubs, run-flat wheels featuring a built-in air delivery system to support the in-board CTIS (Central Tire Inflation System), and more. Also, a high-mounted radiator, air intakes, and 16-inch ground clearance allowed the H1 to wade through streams 30 inches tall! No wonder the Hummer H1 could conquer regions, be it storming through the deserts of Iraq or climbing the mountains of Afghanistan.
As you step inside the Hummer H1, you are greeted by a spaceship-style cockpit view with driver-focused controls and buttons. A no-nonsense, boxy, and straight-angled theme is carried throughout the cabin, showing the H1's sheer utilitarian form. The interior is adorned with leather-upholstered seats, in colors ebony and brown. Depending on the model year, the H1's center console area gave the driver access to multiple controls, including power windows, heated front seats, air-con, cruise control, CTIS controls, Monsoon audio system, central locking system, etc. At first glance, the H1's inside feels expansive and spacious until the broad hump in the center is factored out. The driver and the front passenger seats stay an arm's length away (literally), separated by a long and wide hump to make way for the H1's drivetrain, including its transmission and engine. As a result, for a big and wide SUV, the Hummer H1 has a cramped leg space for the front and rear passengers. Speaking of rear passengers, GM chose to offer certain luxury amenities like climate control and armrests, despite the poor leg-space. The colossal hump flows to the back as well, eating up the space of a potential middle seat. Albeit the H1's interior practicality lags behind its luxury SUV counterparts, its function-over-form character is what gives the H1's interior design a tough-guy personality.
The Hummer H1's wide stance can especially be felt from the outside. The absence of angular and curved body panels and structure showcases the H1's simple yet brutal nature. Later H1s featured specialized and strengthened aircraft aluminum bodies, newer frame rails, and rocker panel protection parts for an added off-roading experience. The front combines a slanted grille and rounded headlights, reminiscing the Willys Jeep. Together, these exterior components are integrated into the forward-hinged fiberglass hood. Also, the body sits on 17-inch run-flat tires, with an inboard Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) that can increase/decrease tire pressure on driver demand. Meanwhile, the side door panels, with their exposed hinges and right-angled shape, complement the rest of the rectangular and robust body structure. Additionally, GM offered a range of trim levels, allowing varying functionality. Whatever the trim level, there is no mistaking an H1 on the public road. Its ability to turn heads gave it a presence in major movies, games, and even pop songs, including Godzilla, Fast & Furious, and Need For Speed: Underground.
Evidently, the engineers at AM weren't keen on making a rocket ship with fancy tech goodies, especially with its already low-reliability score. Still, GM thought it fit, and rightfully so, to include some safety equipment into the newer H1 Alphas, such as active blind spot monitoring, power steering, and rear-view cameras, to make navigating and parking the bruiser on the narrow roads of San Francisco easier. Plus, the combination of cruise control, air-con, and a quality audio system was a perfect recipe for a satisfying highway cruise. Luckily, heated side view mirrors and seats were made possible, offering comfort in harsher climates. Finally, for off-roading prowess, the tire pressure could be monitored, with a push of a button, for varying terrain and landscape requirements courtesy of an active tire pressure monitoring system (CTIS). Coupled with locking (rear and front) differentials, the Hummer H1 could conquer any terrain.
AM offered the Hummer H1 in three definitive trim levels: a soft-top four-door, a hard-top four-door, and an Alpha Station-Wagon SUV. Other civilian HUMMVee variants included a two-door version featuring a pickup truck-styled bed and a four-door slant back, both of which had a limited production run. Being the 2nd gen, the Hummer H1 Alpha kicked off at $139,771, going up to $146,622 for the four-door hard-top and station-wagon variants. Meanwhile, early Hummer H1s can command prices of up to $110,000 – $115,000, subject to varying trim levels and extra options. However, a trade-off between mileage and value means you might land some high-mileage H1s for a steal at $60,000 or even less. That said, the limited production variants are shooting up in value, exchanging hands between an eye-watering $150,000 to $160,000, with a couple even crossing the $250,000 mark! Looking to be a proud Hummer H1 owner? Well, you might want to look at the Hummer H1 listings at Exotic Car Trader and try your luck there.
For the American automotive legend it is, the Hummer H1 is more than just a vehicle; it is a rolling force of nature, capable of turning heads wherever you go. The boxy and military-inspired body reminds one of a ‘Jeep on steroids’ demeaning every SUV that comes its way. At Exotic Car Trader, the process of buying and selling cars is nothing short of a breeze. With several screening tests in check, including a private seller verification process, Exotic Car Trader ensures that every purchase is legitimate and eliminates the need to haggle with private buyers and sellers. Exotic Car Trader deals in all, be it trade-ins, holding escrow funds, or even financing options, not to forget dealing with industry fraud detection tools for a safe and secure transaction. Looking forward to adding another car to your collection? Head over to the Exotic Car Trader homepage to browse through hundreds of listed cars! So, the faint-hearted, be warned, owning a Hummer H1 may break the bank, but for the thrill-seekers and adventurers, it is an investment in purity.
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