AM General considers selling Humvee kits

Hummer H1The Hummer H1 hasn’t stalked the land since 2006, and now the military is phasing out its progenitor, the High Mobility Multi Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or “Humvee”). Still, off-road enthusiasts who can still afford to fill up Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favorite ride could be in luck. Humvee maker AM General is considering selling the trucks in kit form.

The kits would be based on the stripped-out, military-grade Humvee, not the civilian Hummer H1. That means the trucks will have bare metal interiors (not that the H1’s plasticky interior was anything to write home about), no audio, and no amenities.

The kit, which says will be called the C-Series, may not have an engine, either. Like most other kit cars, buyers will need to source their own engine and transmission. This would allow AM General to exclude the Humvee/C-Series from regulations for complete cars, so it wouldn’t have to pass the same crash or emissions tests.

Military-spec Humvees use a 6.5-liter turbo-diesel V8 from General Motors, coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission. That combination is good for 190 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Civilian Hummers were sold with more modern Duramax turbo-diesels, varying in power depending on model year. An H1 Alpha model sported 300 hp and 520 lb-ft.

Theoretically, buyers could swap in other engines as they please. However, AM General mounted the Humvee’s engine far back in the chassis for better weight distribution, which could make installing a non-OEM powerplant difficult.

Hummerguy also says that AM General will offer accessories like skid plates, central tire inflation, a heated windshield, and a 12,000-pound capacity winch.

Is this just wishful thinking on the part of Hummer enthusiasts? AM General is “considering the development of a HUMVEE kit comprised of certain HMMWV body and chassis components,” Jeff Adams, the company’s executive director of communications and marketing told Automobile. However, the company is very far from a final decision. Adams said the company is talking to potential customers in focus groups, and weighing the financial feasibility of the kits. So if you want a Hummer, it might be a good idea to contact AM General before priming your bank account.

It all sounds jolly exciting, but why would someone buy a Hummer today? It represents victory in the Cold War, Desert Storm, the ‘90s, and unabashed American bravado, but in the era of expensive gas, CAFE, and lithium-ion batteries, it doesn’t seem that relevant.

That’s why selling the Humvee as a kit car makes sense. Mass-producing them would be a tad irresponsible, and wouldn’t make much financial sense but, regardless of its practical limitations, this is still an immensely capable off-road vehicle. If people are willing to invest some cash and elbow grease to get one, why shouldn’t they be allowed?