AM General Considering Selling Build-Your-Own Humvee Kits
Off-road enthusiasts haven't been able to purchase a brand-new HUMMER H1 since 2006, but new reports suggest AM General may soon allow customers to buy - and build - their own Humvee in the near future.
According to HummerGuy.net, it's a widely known rumor within the Hummer community that AM General may soon sell a partially-knocked-down, military-grade Humvee to interested civilians. The kit, allegedly known as the C-Series, would essentially provide everything needed to assemble a brand-new Humvee, likely based off the military A2 Series product line.
The one exception: powertrain. As is the case with virtually all kit cars, buyers will reportedly need to obtain their own engine and transmission to install within the tight confines of the Humvee's engine compartment. Although late-model H1 models were offered with GM's 6.6-liter turbo-diesel Duramax V-8 and an Allison six-speed automatic, Humvees sold to the armed forces continue to use an evolution of the ancient GM 6.5-liter turbo-diesel V-8, along with a four-speed automatic transmission. That pairing would likely be the easiest to install, though a number of H1 specialists offer swap kits for the Duramax, along with the Cummins diesel I-6 used in Ram pickups.
Hummerguy claims buyers will be able to add features like rocker panel and driveline protection, central tire inflation (CTIS) hardware, a 12,000-pound winch, and a heated windshield. Creature comforts, however, may not be. Though the civilian Hummer/ H1 interior was perhaps best described as basic, its amenities --including plastic interior trim, audio system, and upgraded seats - won't be part of the C-Series. Instead, expect to see a metal dashboard, basic seating, a lack of sound abatement and carpeting, and so on.
Is this truth or a bit of fan fiction? According to Jeff Adams, executive director of communications and marketing at AM General, the company is "considering the development of a HUMVEE kit comprised of certain HMMWV body and chassis components." That said, the company says it hasn't come to a final decision at this point in 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," Adams says. "Any other comments about this initiative would be premature and speculative."
Still, we think it's an interesting idea, and one that appeases Hummer fans and off-road enthusiasts alike. In fact, the idea is quite similar to the Jeep J8 Milspec kit once offered by American Expedition Vehicles, which sold military-grade Jeep Wrangler J8 vehicles (including an oh-too-cool pickup) as engineless kits to consumers, allowing those who really wanted one to have one, but without Chrysler completely re-working the vehicle in order for it to comply with both NHTSA and EPA regulations. The same can be said for the Humvee - selling it in kit form allows the die-hard enthusiast to purchase one without the company incurring the cost of re-engineering the vehicle to meet the latest airbag, collision, and emission standards. A completed C-Series could be titled, registered, and insured as a kit car built by the owner, not AM General.
But, as AM General says, no decision has been made. Adams notes some of the information presented "reflects discussions we have had with focus groups to ascertain the viability of this proposed initiative. All the information provided to the focus groups is notional and only meant to gage a level of interest, as we are still investigating the feasibility and costs of this endeavor."
You tell us -- would a DIY Humvee kit be a worthwhile offering to the off-road vehicle market? Sound off in the comment section below.
Source: AM General, Hummerguy.net