For the first Hummer, parallels with the original Willys Jeep are relevant: the company behind it, AM General, was the outfit that formerly made military Jeeps.
AM General Hummer 1992
- YEAR REVEALED 1992
- PLACE OF ORIGIN South Bend, Indiana
- HISTORICAL STATUS military vehicle-derived production car
- ENGINE V8-cylinder, diesel 378–396ci (6,200-6,483cc); V8-cylinder, gas 350ci (5,735cc)
- MAXIMUM POWER 195bhp
- LAYOUT front-mounted engine driving all four wheels
- BODYWORK four-door, five-seater station wagon or convertible (others offered)
- TOP SPEED 87mph (140kph)
The vehicle was meticulously planned to the US Army’s brief for the ultimate go-anywhere machine that could be specified in several variations and resist anything thrown at it. It didn’t have to be that fast; just unstoppable.
The 1979 blueprint classified it as a “High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle.” Within 15 months, working prototypes were being appraised, and satisfied Army chiefs placed an order worth $1.2 billion for 55,000 “HMMWV’s or “Humvees” in 1983. As the vehicles entered service, troops nicknamed them “Hummers”.
The underpinnings called for a ladder-frame separate chassis so it could be configured as anything-from troop carrier, to mini-tank, to ambulance-and independent suspension, by wishbones and coil springs, for towering ground clearance and wheel articulation.
The 1991 Gulf War was the Hummer M996’s public launch TV advertising campaign, as the world watched the 396ci (7,483cc) monsters liberating Kuwait from Iraqi invasion. In 1992, AM General Hummer a civilian model was introduced.
It had a 378ci (6,200cc) diesel V8, but a detuned Chevrolet Corvette gas V8 was briefly offered in 1995. It cost up to $45,000 and came in four body configurations, designed specifically for off-road driving-conducting this behemoth along any highway was tricky.