Fighting Chance
Recoil|September - October 2019

Mil-Spec automotive has transformed the Hummer H1 into what it should’ve been all along — an uncompromising, purpose-built vehicle.

John Schwartze

Think about the various flare-ups in the automotive industry you’ve lived through. Many vehicles debut to great fanfare, but their flame is often extinguished just as quickly as it began. Outfits independent of the Big Three like DeLorean, Vector, Tucker, and Fisker certainly burst upon the scene to tremendous optimism. Unfortunately, they found themselves added to a growing list of names that automotive enthusiasts wax philosophically about what could’ve been. The public is also left to wonder if anyone’s got the cojones to resurrect the brand and improve where others fell short. The tale of Hummer also falls into this category of missed opportunities, but perhaps now the elements have aligned for it to finally reach its intended potential.

Let’s face it, there’s a certain exaggerated charm the Hummer H1 has. It’s like a real-life version of the AA-powered Stompers many of us had as kids. It originally started as a military vehicle known as the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or “Humvee”) in the 1980s and garnered the attention of some high-profile people who wanted to own one. Schwarzenegger played a key role in developing a civilian version with AM General, and soon enough demand was cultivated to justify making them available to the general public.

It was hastily given some upgrades like a vac-formed plastic interior and other creature comforts not found in the military version to make it more consumer-friendly, but still wasn’t engineered with as much attention to detail as it should’ve been for a daily driver. Eventually, GM acquired the brand, made some other alterations, and added models to the fleet that weren’t really true to the original DNA. Design problems and a number of other factors continued to plague the brand until it was discontinued about a decade ago.

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