VLF Humvee C-SeriesEnlarge Photo
China's increasingly crowded roads might not seem like the ideal location for hulking military derived off-road vehicles, but don't tell Bob Lutz or his company that. VLF Automotive is officially selling carbon copies of the Hummer H1 in the people's republic.
Wealthy Chinese customers have commissioned VLF to build new Hummer H1 SUVs, Car and Driver reports. Though they don't wear the "Hummer" name, they are indeed H1s. AM General, the vehicle's contract manufacturer, has been offering Humvee C-Series kits since 2013, three years after General Motors sent the Hummer brand to the automotive graveyard. Following AM General's decision to sell the C-Series kits, Humvee Export appeared, ready to place a powertrain in the unfinished C-Series SUVs.
That's where VLF comes into play. VLF is assembling the entire vehicle at its factory in Auburn Hills, Michigan, alongside the VLF Destino, an LS9 V-8 powered Fisker Karma creation, and the company's rebodied Viper and Mustang offerings.
“There’s a niche market,” president of Humvee Export, John Costin, said. “There are people who want to have the most fun at 5 or 6 miles per hour.”
The Humvee C-Series looks exactly as it did when it arrived as a pedestrian vehicle years ago, too. By that, we mean large, bulky, and super inefficient. VLF and Humvee Export plan to build around 100 C-Series this year for wealthy Chinese buyers.
Each C-Series will use either a 6.5-liter diesel V-8 engine (in three output configurations of 190 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque, 205 hp and 440 lb-ft and 250 hp and 440 lb-ft) or a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 with 430 hp and 424 lb-ft engine, which previously served in the C6 Corvette and fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro.
Despite the Hummer H1 being the embodiment of America (can you not picture an H1 without bald eagles and stars and stripes?), it's not destined for U.S. consumption. The Humvee C-Series doesn’t qualify under the recently passed Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act. The law allows for the reproduction of a vehicle if it's 25 years old and it exempts it from crash tests and EPA certification. Despite meeting the age requirement, technically, the Humvee hasn't exited production.