AM General's Humvee, coming soon in kit formEnlarge Photo
The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, more commonly known as the Humvee, has been the general purpose vehicle of choice for the U.S. military since 1984. Deployed in operations worldwide, the Humvee’s versatility and go-anywhere design even spawned the now-defunct Hummer civilian brand.
Times are changing for the military, which now finds itself embroiled in urban combat, for which the standard Humvee is less than ideal. As the U.S. military phases out the Humvee, its maker, AM General, believes the hardcore off-roader may still have life left in it.
As Hummer Guy (via Autoblog) reports, AM General may soon offer a build-it-yourself C-Series kit version of the Humvee, potentially at a reasonable starting price. Speculation is that a kit could start from as little as $59,000, including a rolling chassis that only needs an engine and transmission to make road-worthy.
Hummer Guy points out that a Duramax Diesel V-8 and an Allison transmission could be stuffed under the hood for an out-the-door priced of around $75,000, assuming you were good with hand tools. That’s quite a bit more reasonable that the 2005 purchase price of the Hummer H1 Alpha, which started at $140,000 before you added options.
There’s a catch, of course: a kit version would be inexpensive because it’s as stripped as the basic military version. That means you'd likely get a cloth top, cloth doors, no interior trim, no sound deadening and no amenities like air conditioning. Factory options like two-piece beadlock wheels and a central tire inflation system would likely be available, but luxury probably wouldn't make the list.
That won’t matter to the Humvee faithful, who will likely embrace the go-anywhere kit car, warts and all (assuming it's built). It still wouldn't be inexpensive, but in do-it-yourself form the Humvee is attainable for a lot more buyers than the original. We suppose you could buy a used Humvee at a surplus auction for comparable money, but then you’d miss the joy of building your own.
Update: We heard from Jeff Adams, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing at AM General, who advises us that the kit referenced is still under consideration and far from being approved or finalized.
In Adams' words, "AM General is considering the development of a HUMVEE kit (which is comprised of certain HMMWV body and chassis components), however, a final decision has not been made to move forward on the proposed initiative at this time. The company has engaged in focus group outreach with potential customers to ascertain the viability of such an endeavor, however, at this point in time it is still investigating the feasibility and costs of this proposed initiative. Any other comments about this initiative would be premature and speculative."