Rare Rides: The 1996 AM General Hummer, Don't Call It H1

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the 1996 am general hummer dont call it h1

As I was considering some serious topics yesterday, namely the Jaguar XK8 as a used car buy and the new GMC Hummer EV, I came to the realization we’d never touched on any Hummer vehicles in the Rare Rides series.

It’s an oversight which is rectified today!

We did feature a theoretical direct competitor to the Humvee long ago, in the Toyota Mega Cruiser. But that tough truck was intended to compete with the Humvee on the military market, and not the (secondarily considered) passenger market like today’s truck. On to Hummer!

The basis for the Hummer was the standard Humvee, which was produced by AM General and entered military service for the first time in 1983. Consumers looked at the US military’s truck as it rolled across their Zenith in the Gulf War, and desire formed in their hearts. Given this newfound demand, in 1992 AM General spiffed up the Humvee and released the first-ever civilian model called the Hummer. It officially went on sale March 14th.

There were six total body styles of Hummer available, in a mix of two- and four-door models. Two-door options included a pickup version and an extended cab pickup. The more common four-door was offered in a soft top guise, as a short bed pickup, and as a super square SUV with rear barn doors. There was also an alternate version of the wagon style, which offered a slanted rear like the military truck.

Engines for the Hummer were all of V8 configuration. One gasoline engine was on offer, a 5.7-liter with throttle body injection. All other engines were diesels from 6.2 to 6.6 liters of displacement. All engines were made by GM.

Most of the Hummer’s body panels, along with the frame, brakes, and axles, were shared with the military Humvee. Critically, the civilian Hummer also shared its off-road abilities with the military version. Drivetrain components were tucked up in a central cavern, allowing for a ground clearance from the factory of 16 inches. Most examples also had an on-board tire inflation system, where the driver could change tire pressure from inside the cabin via the press of a button.

Hummer versions were built on the same assembly as the Humvee in Mishawaka, Indiana. The complete bodies were sent to another building for painting and fitment of their plush civilian interiors. Notable options for the Hummer were a winch, running boards, and leather seats. AM General managed sales on their own for a while, until in 1999 General Motors came along and bought the marketing rights to the Hummer name. Then they put it to good use, and advertised the previous standard Hummer as the H1, and their new GMT-based in-town SUV as the H2.

H1 production continued in Indiana through 2004, with one final run of the H1 Alpha for model year 2006. GM had to make considerable changes to sell it that year, as there were new EPA requirements post-2004. The Alpha version was on sale for a short while before GM cancelled the project, pulling support for further engineering and EPA certification of the H1. The Humvee continues on in production today, and is currently expected to remain in military service through at least 2050.

Today’s Hummer wagon is fully equipped with leather seats and a winch, and a 6.5-liter turbodiesel engine (though it has Duramax badges). In subtle red over tan, this practical truck is at auction for $52,500.

[Images: seller]

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  • SCE to AUX "had far more to do with working with Venezuela to ensure freer elections and more international cooperation than expanding anyone’s oil supply"That's double BS - no oil purchase will clean up Venezuela's corruption, and of course the administration wants to see lower gas prices.The US chooses its friends poorly, and this is the latest example.
  • Jkross22 Aren't toy cars by definition those with 2 seats?
  • SCE to AUX Nothing new to see here. Indonesia is already the world's largest nickel producer (30%) at 800 metric tons.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_nickel_productionLiberals don't care because this production advances the EV agenda, and conservatives feign concern only because it's a convenient weapon against the EV agenda.Absolutely nobody cared when the same nickel mines helped produce every other product we have been buying for the last 50 years.
  • FreedMike So...large scale energy production has consequences, no matter what the source. Wouldn't have guessed that in a million years.
  • SPPPP I doubt that the fishermen and locals get any direct benefit from this industrial park. This would be a hardship in any country, but particularly bad in a place with a land-based (or water-based) subsistence economy. You can't just take your fishing skills and move to the city.