Depending on how you feel about Hummer, you might be disappointed or glad that its military poseur gas-guzzling supertrucks are no longer being manufactured. But what will certainly surprise you, no matter how you feel towards Humvees, is that these supertrucks are still being sold in the used market.
In fact, Hummer H1 Alphas, which were only made in the year 2006, are shooting up in value as one of the most popular off-roading vehicles in our lifetime.
In a recent video, Doug DeMuro goes into the history of the Hummer, discusses its interior and exterior details, and tells us why a 2006 H1 Alpha is now selling for ridiculously high prices.
History of the Hummer H1
The original Hummer was a military vehicle that came out in 1985. It was nicknamed the Humvee or Hummer because of its military acronym, HMMWV, which stood for High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle.
In 1992, AM General, the original Hummer manufacturer, started selling a civilian version, for people who wanted something more than the regular SUV on the market at that time, such as the Toyota Landcruiser, the Chevy Blazer, or the Ford Bronco.
Throughout the early years of the civilian model, Hummers had very little engine power. However, once it started being made more powerful, there was a fatal flaw in the design of the engine. The flaw could and did lead to engine failure, marring the rebuild with reliability issues. Eventually, the rights to the brand were sold to General Motors.
What makes the Hummer H1 Alpha so special?
Finally, in 2006, the Hummer H1 Alpha was brought out. It was fully equipped with a Duramax diesel V8 engine from General Motors’ heavy-duty pickup trucks. This gave the H1 the power, the torque, and the reliability it so badly needed. But 2006 was the only year that the H1 Alphas were produced with the Duramax engine.
DeMuro says that this is the real reason that makes the Hummer H1 such a sought-after purchase. The incredible power of the engine paired with an extremely utilitarian design makes the H1 the ultimate off-roading vehicle.
What features make the H1 Alpha the ideal off-roading vehicle?
The first stand-out feature when it comes to off-roading is the Hummer’s H1 Alpha’s ground clearance. This vehicle was originally used for transporting troops in battle. Because of this, the military wanted as much ground clearance as possible for off-roading capabilities in combat zones.
While this is a great characteristic for those who are interested in off-roading, it does impact the interior of the H1. The interior is unusual, to say the least.
The Hummer’s size has a lot to do with the expectations for its initial use in the military. For instance, DeMuro mentions that when you used to see a Hummer driving around, it seemed like the biggest car on the road at 86.5 inches wide.
Now, average SUVs and trucks are getting closer to the same width, with the Ford F150 Raptor measuring 86.3 inches wide. But at the time, the H1 was really one of a kind. DeMuro recognizes this while admitting that the unwieldy size of the Alpha paired with the apparent lack of thought on the design team’s part made for an awkward conversion to a consumer-friendly car.
The H1 Alpha also just feels incredibly wide on the inside. DeMuro proves this point when he’s seated in the passenger seat of the vehicle and tries reaching over to touch someone sitting in the driver’s seat. He can’t do it — showing us visually that there is actually around four feet of space between the driver and the passenger.
Why is the interior design so unusual?
There are practical reasons why the Alpha was built this way. The reason that the center area is so huge and the seats are so far apart is because there are crucial elements to the running gear and drive train components located in the center area of the vehicle.
In the average four-door sedan, these components remain on the floor, but in the Alpha, they must be stored much higher up to allow for increased ground clearance.
There’s also a central tire inflation system, or CTIS, which helps with off-roading because you can deflate your tires with the push of a button instead of having to get out and manually let the air out of each tire.
You can also reinflate your tires when you’re done driving on rough terrain with the same press of a button. Additionally, there are gauges on the driver side that show your front and rear tire pressures at all times.
The Hummer does seat 6 people, even though as DeMuro demonstrates, the second row of seating in the back is not particularly comfortable. Most fully-grown adults would find it difficult to fit into any one of the four seats in the back, despite there being the ultimate luxury — individual headphone jacks for two people. Plus, the ability to listen to any radio station that you wanted to. Yes, the ultimate luxury … in 2006.
In a $200,000 H1 like the one shown in DeMuro’s video, it has been modified with even more luxury features, such as a backup camera with a giant screen in the middle of the seats. You can also program it so that your garage door opens and closes by the touch of a switch — even though, as DeMuro jokes, who has a garage big enough to fit a Hummer H1 Alpha?
Is the price worth it?
With all that said, you can add as many luxury features as you want but it’s hard to disguise this vehicle’s original utilitarian design. In most modern vehicles, aesthetics are taken into account, but this wasn’t so much the case for the H1 Hummer.
Regardless, off-roaders and Hummer diehards alike are flocking to used car dealerships and individual sellers — and shelling out big, big bucks for a chance to own what some might call the ultimate off-roading vehicle.