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History of the Hummer

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Hummer

History of the Hummer

Ronnie Tanner
April 14, 2009

The Hummer that most know and recognize began as a very different type vehicle. Designed for the military by AM General Corporation, AMC’s Jeep General Products division, the first High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle or Hum-Vee for short, came with many different military grade options. Some of these options included gun turrets, radar, directional microwave crowd control, armor plating and troop carriers. While primarily built for the military, AM General had previously planned to market a civilian model.

Advertising the Hummer, which was the designation for the civilian form of vehicle, was never an issue. When twin Hum-Vee’s were driven from London to Beijing in 1990, ESPN was there to broadcast the highlight of the journey. This publicity combined with that received when the Hum-Vee played a very active role in Desert Storm was all that was needed to have the public clamoring to get their hands on the newest off road toy.

AM General had no trouble converting the military based vehicle to a civilian model. Soon AM General was received orders for special order models. The most famous of these was that AM General converted for use in and around the Arctic Circle and for use in the Antarctic. It was given caterpillar tracks for use in the snow, a redesigned rear compartment and an engine designed specifically for use in bitterly cold climates. It was nicknamed the Snow-Vee.

The name for the civilian version was officially changed to Hummer H1 in 1992 when it went on sell to the public for the first time.

By the 1990’s the public was completely infatuated with the large heavy-duty vehicles and Hummers began appearing regularly in popular culture. Some of the most notable include the show CSI: Miami in which the crime lab Lt Horatio Cain drives one during the sixth season. They have also been featured on the big screen as well. In the 2007 Transformers movie, one of the Autobots transforms into a search and rescue Hummer H2.

There have been 3-generation designs so far and each one is classed numerically. The first generation is known as the Hummer H1, the second is the Hummer H2 and the third generation was given the designation Hummer H3.

The Hummer has developed somewhat of a cult following and car clubs have popped up across the country. Because the Hummer has such heavy-duty capabilities, they have been used in many humanitarian efforts in disaster situations. So much so that the owners have formed Hummer Owners Prepared for Emergencies (Hope). General Motors, who now owns the brand name, worked with the Red Cross and donated 4 million dollars to train Hummer owners with CPR and first aid skills as well as basic off road safety driving skills so that they could assist as first responders in disaster situations.

Unfortunately, as much as some love the Hummer, others hate it. Because of the size and weight of the vehicle, the Hummer has exceptional poor fuel economy. Poor ecological perceptions by many have led to heavy criticism and the hummer has been singled out on more than one occasion as a symbol of reckless endangerment of the environment.

Ronnie Tanner is a contributing writer at SWengines.com. He writes about used Hummer Engines.

Source:  Amazines.com

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