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Little-Known Facts About Hummers

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2004 Hummer H1 Interior

Interior of a 2004 Hummer H1

GM
  • AM General started making High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (or Humvees) for the U.S. Army in 1983. They started building the civilian models (or Hummers) in 1992.

  • In 1999, General Motors acquired exclusive ownership of the Hummer brand name and the marketing rights from AM General, but AMG still continues to manufacture the H1 Hummers for the civilian market. The H2 is GM's own version of the original Humvee, and it is built on GM's Suburban frame.

  • A Hummer is classified as a Class 3 truck, but it does not require a special license to drive it.

  • All Hummer dealers are required (as a condition to holding the franchise) to organize 4 Hummer off-road events per year!

  • Unlike most SUVs, this vehicle is geared for off road use. Therefore, what most perceive as poor engine speed during routine driving actually results from the fact that Hummers were not designed for driving on in town and on highways.

  • The Hummer is a tiger offroad. The H1 can climb a 22-inch vertical wall, navigate a 60% grade, traverse a 40% grade side slope fully loaded (with nearly 3,500 pounds of payload), and operate in up to 30 inches of water. The H2 can climb a 16-inch vertical wall, navigate a 60% grade, traverse a 40% side slope, and operate in up to 20 inches of water.

  • HUMVEE or HUMMER?… The basic vehicle produced for military use is called a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (or HMMWV), which the military eventually called a HUMVEE for short. When AM General introduced a civilian version of the HMMWV, it was officially called a HUMMER.

  • The H2 starts with your basic GM truck platform. It's the same one introduced on Chevy and GMC pickups in 1999 and is today on the Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, Escalade and other GM full-size trucks and sport-utility vehicles.

  • All Hummers have automatic transmissions, even the military ones. Therefore, no stick-shift option is available.

  • While a Hummer is equipped to drive through water up to 30 inches deep (most components are sealed against the elements), it's not an amphibious vehicle, or a submarine, nor can it float. In fact, it is designed to take on water in order to avoid floating, all the while maintaining traction underneath.

  • The Hummer is designed in such a way that when fording through deep water, a significant amount of water will actually enter the vehicle, only to be released afterwards through the drain plugs in the floors.

  • While military Humvees have a snorkel kit extending the exhaust and air intake to roof level, making it possible to operate in 60 inches of water, Civilian Hummers cannot use the snorkel kit because the dash, fuses, alternator, power steering cap, transmission controller, radio, and engine controller are not waterproof.

  • As a Class 3 truck, Hummers are exempt from many DOT safety regulations such as passive restraints and third brake lights. However, they do have to have padded dashes, collapsible steering columns, steel roofs and doors, and lights (including clearance lights on front and rear).

  • The EPA does not release gas mileage ratings for Hummers, because they fall under the classification of “heavy vehicles” (similar to shuttle buses and ambulances).

  • Approximately 1000 civilian versions the original Humvee are built each year at the South Bend, IN facility.

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