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Let’s say you served, have a relative who served, or are just a huge fan of “Generation Kill.” Well, then you might be considering one of the U.S. Military’s workhorse, go-anywhere trucks as personal transportation. Before you get your hopes up too high, there are a few things you might want to consider before picking up a HMMWV, or “Humvee.” 

You can purchase and drive a Humvee from online auction sites, but there’s a catch

The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) isn’t the same as the pavement-princess Hummer H1s you see at your local Cars & Coffee. No, this is the long-serving workhorse of the United States Military, colloquialized as “Humvee.” As such, a Humvee lacks nearly all of the consumer-focused attributes that the Indiana-based AM General installed in the Hummer.

Consequently, you won’t find the insulation, air conditioning system, and creature comforts of the H1 in a military surplus ride. What’s more, you’ll have to negotiate a few hurdles to make your HMMWV into a monstrous commuter. For starters, Dirt Legal says some states won’t title a Humvee for personal use. You’ll have to check out whether your state allows a heavy, wide military surplus vehicle like a HMMWV for road use. 

A HMMWV, or Humvee, shows off its slat armor.
HMMWV with slat armor | Wirestock via iStock

Moreover, if you do live in one of the 20 or so states that will title your new surplus off-roader as an on-road runabout, you’ll need documentation. For instance, if you buy a Humvee from an auction site like GovPlanet, you’ll need a USG Form SF97. Then, you’re going to have to facilitate pickup or shipping. Remember, you most likely won’t be able to just hop in and go. 

However, even if you have the patience and drive to get one, you might not want to. Sure, a HMMWV has an impossibly capable angle of approach and the ability to go places that conventional SUVs simply won’t. But military vehicles, especially HMMWVs, endure hard lives in service of the United States Military. 

I’ve seen HMMWVs frozen shut, baking in Afghan heat, rolled over, stuck in the jungle, dropped out of aircraft with parachutes, and worse. It’s a hard life for most of these trucks, especially those in combat arms roles. So, unless you want a Humvee as a novelty for special occasions, it might not be worth your efforts.