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Pre-Owned: 1992-2006 Hummer H1

It's clear that this is a unique machine.

Marc Cook
Feb 20, 2007
Photographers: The Manufacturers
Perhaps no other vehicle polarizes public opinion more than the original Hummer. It's either the harbinger of the end of the automotive world or the best thing since the original Jeep. Is it the final example that we've become uncouth consumers or is it just an example of supersized off-road capability wrapped in a macho package? Chances are you're on one side of the argument or the other. Fence straddlers are rare.
The genesis of the original Hummer comes, of course, from the military seeking a light tactical vehicle. AM General won a U.S. Army contract in 1981 for some 55,000 HMMWVs (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle); eventually production started in 1983 to total 70,000 Hummers, as they'd come to be called. More contracts followed in the 1990s to bring the total produced to more than 150,000.
Civilian versions developed by AM General trickled into the market in 1992, but the brand didn't start littering streets until AM General's linkup with GM in 1999. Before early 2000, it was just Hummer, but after the partnership of the two Generals, the original beast took the name H1.
The last H1 has rolled off the line near South Bend, Indiana, but that doesn't mean Hummer is going to leave the original line high and dry. We've heard there may be some plans in the works to bring back another HUMMER H1 by 2010. In the meantime, all we have to choose from are several versions of the old model.
Four body styles were available, two- and four-door hardtops, four-door "convertible," and a wagon. They're all huge, rolling on a 130-inch wheelbase and packing 6500-plus pounds of sharply folded sheetmetal in the 185 inches between the bumpers. Power for early H1s came from a 6.2-liter diesel and a three-speed auto, which was geared so low that highway travel is said to be a trial. In 1994, the engine was a 6.5-liter diesel with a GM
So here's the deal: This capsule description makes the H1 sound like a lot of large SUVs from the major manufacturers, all of which you might be able to buy used without much research into model changes, updates, and so on. Not with the H1. This is a specialized machine, much unlike the big GM 'utes that, for the most part, underpin the H2. The all-wheel-drive system is complex and durable, but there are plenty of reports of failures due to abuse and lack of maintenance. H1s also have some military-spec systems you won't see elsewhere, like the pricey and optional central tire inflation system.
There are scores of upgrades and updates for the H1 concerning many systems on the vehicle. Spend some time researching the specifics of any model-year vehicle you're considering and carefully determine if it has the desired upgrades you want. Moreover, there's no sitting down on maintenance. While owners cite no outrageous difficulties, it's clear that this is a unique machine that requires knowledgeable service. Unless, of course, you have the Army's maintenance budget.

1992-2006 HUMMER H1
Body type 2 or 4-door SUV
Drivetrain Front engine, 4WD
Airbags Driver, passenger
Base engines 6.2L/150-hp OHV Detroit Diesel V-8, 5.7L/150-hp OHV V-8, 6.5L/170-hp OHV, Detroit Diesel V-8 (1996 on)
Optional engine 6.5L/190-205-hp OHV turbodiesel V-8
Brakes, f/rDisc/drum, ABS
Price range, wholesale/retail $20,615/$32,970 (IntelliChoice) (1993 hardtop two-door), $60,895/$78,105 (2004 wagon four-door)
RecallsToo many to list; see www.intellichoice.com
NHTSA frontal impact rating, driver/passN/A

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