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History of the Hummer H1

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It’s 1990. The stage is set: a caravan slouches toward Baghdad. Cue Operation Desert Storm, the first war to bring America’s military might live, via television, right into our living rooms.

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One of the stars of that first Gulf War was the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or the M998 Humvee), manufactured by AM General in the 1980s for military use. It
could climb over 22-inch high obstacles, haul itself up steep grades (as much as 60%) and rumble through water as deep as 30”. Suddenly it seemed as if every red-blooded American male wanted one and so AM General acquiesced, putting the first Hummers into production for the civilian market in 1992. General Motors purchased the brand and began production of the Hummer H1 in 1998 and releasing the H2 and H3 models shortly thereafter.

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The Hummer H1 is technically a pickup truck/SUV and comes in a 2-door soft top, 4-door hard-top SUV and an Alpha Wagon version with a 6.6 liter turbo diesel V8 engine. There is also a 2-door pickup truck that can hold rocket launchers or people. There are actually five different engine types available: a 6.2 and 6.5-liter Detroit diesel V8, a 5.7-liter Vortec V8, a 6.5-liter turbo Detroit Diesel V8 and a 6.6-liter turbo DMAX Diesel V8. Transmission choices include a GM TH400/3L80 3-speed automatic, a GM 4L80-E 4-speed automatic, an Allison 1000 5-speed automatic and Allison 1000 6-speed automatic.

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These vehicles were neither built for comfort nor for speed, but who needs that when you have what is essentially a Jeep on steroids? With 16” of ground clearance the Hummer H1 can climb stairs. It has a Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) that allows the driver to increase or decrease the amount of air to the tires in order to get the optimum footprint for climbing over objects and inboard brakes and portal gears, as well as air intakes tucked up high for protection behind a tubular, reinforced
undercarriage.

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The Hummer H1 has a generous 130” wide wheelbase and runs on runflat tires, although options include magnesium-aluminum alloy inserts in its tires for runflat ability.

Production ceased on the Hummer brand in 2010 after GM lost its bid to sell its Hummer operations to a Chinese firm as part of its bankruptcy settlement.