History of the Hummer

December 1st, 2023 by


American idol


When it comes to the history of what is considered a powerhouse on the road, there is much to it! From its early days as a vehicle rooted in military service and as an unstoppable combat vehicle to the first all-electric super truck out there, the Hummer has its own story to tell. Innovative, powerful and with the ability to carry the heaviest of loads, this vehicle has earned its American idol status and then some!


Here’s more….

The start of the Hummer began within the military service, coming on the horizon after the realization that service Jeeps designed for the heat of World War II just didn’t cut it. The Army re-placed the Jeep with what was called a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, an abbreviation of the the now widely known HMMWV.


With design specifications finalized in 1979 outlining a powerful combat vehicle with incredible on-and-off-road performance, as well as the ability to carry huge loads, working prototypes by American Motors’ subsidiarily AM General, Chrysler Defense and Continental were submitted. Initial specs were impressive! The M998-series specs outlined 5200-pound curb weight, a 2500-pound payload,16 inches of ground clearance, 5 feet of fording capability, both gas and diesel engines and a three-speed automatic transmission. With price tags starting at just over $200,000 and a production run of about 280,000 units, these vehicles will remain, if even for disaster relief, until 2050 or beyond.


It was in the early 1980s, 1983 to be exact, that AM General would win the initial contract, supplying 55,000 vehicles over five years. That number doubled by 1995, with more than 100,000 units built for the U.S. and foreign customers.


The Hummer would get its first shot at battle, when in 1989, the U.S. invaded Panama. Hummers were ever present in Operation Just Cause, as they were during the Gulf War when greater protection was needed from small arms of fire. In response, the M1114 with added armor was deployed, as well as a more powerful turbocharged engine, air conditioning and a tougher suspension. Occupant protection was also enhanced with hardened steel plating and bullet-resistant glass.


In all its history, the Hummer platform has held weapons ranging from machine gun turrets to surface-to-air missiles. The vehicle was even deployed to Afghanistan where they served following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. However, they were deemed no longer feasible for combat by 2012.

On the home front, Hummers made their way to civilian life in the early 1990s, when they began being for sale to the general public. From its launch in 1992 to its showroom departure in 2006, the H1 was presented with a choice of three different Detroit Diesel V-8s, one Duramax V-8 and one GM gasoline V-8. These engines provided propulsion through a three or four-speed automatic transmission.


Body styles would run the gamut at this time, including a four-door hard top, wagon, a two-door pick up, a four-door slant back and even a soft-top convertible.

By 1999, GM purchased the Hummer brand completely from AM General and added two new variants. The H2 would use the full-sized pickup underpinnings while the smaller H3 borrowed chassis parts from GM’s Colorado/Canyon compact pickup. All were featured with four doors and a choice of SUV or open bed body styles.


Unfortunately, the Hummer would be marked by poor fuel efficiency after about a decade on the market, and met with poor demand. This scenario would continue, with attempts to pawn off the brand in 2009 not panning out. Leftover stock was sold with steep discounts as GM nearly met bankruptcy.


This downsize was short-lived, thankfully, with Hummer falling in line with the coming wave of electric trucks. Thanks to strong marketing efforts that culminated during the 2020 Super Bowl, the Hummer EV with its remarkable 1000 hp would stand tall  and wide!

All-new Hummers were reborn! With easy maneuverability thanks to rear-wheel steering, a nice ride quality and massive EV power, the Hummer, in both the SUV and pick-up varieties, were dubbed the first all-electric super trucks out there! From a host of new exterior hues to hands-free driving and more, this revolutionary all-electric super truck was and is all things capable, and people were taking note.


The first- the Hummer EV Edition 1 starting at $112,595, was equipped with all one can imagine, including three motors totaling 1000 hp, air suspension, four-wheel steering with in-phase Crab mode and out-of-phase for tighter turning modes, two electronic dash screens, removable transparent roof panels, a stepped tailgate and Super Cruise hands-free driving.


Whether a pickup or SUV, the Hummer EV speaks to versatility in its exterior features as well as numerous capabilities. Various elements of these vehicles were engineered to overcome tough terrain, such as the Crabwalk on the models, which allows the vehicle to drive diagonally at low speeds. This helps in traversing tight trails. Extract mode on the SUV and pick-up helps drivers get out of any tight spot with ease. This feature, along with the Adaptive Air Ride Suspension, helps raise the car 6 inches off the ground to get through such tough obstacles as traversing boulders or water.

These vehicles sit on specially engineered 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires, providing optimal balance of on- and off-road performance.


On the outside, specific design elements were presented, including distinctive front lighting, a low-turret roof profile, an upright windshield and unique tail lamps. Transparent sky panels rounded out the unique look and feel.


The Hummer, which represents all things big, including size and power, is considered the cornerstone of GM’s $27 billion push into EVs that will include the release of 30 brand new vehicles by 2025.



With this slew of benefits and features comes the thought that the EV redefined what was a dying brand, but time will tell.


Through the years, the Hummer filled the role of cargo and troop carrier, ambulance, missile carrier and more. It has taken center stage in war and in one’s driveway. A force to be reckoned with and rooted in capability and power. In the world of off-road vehicles, it stood out and continues to do so.


With ground clearance for days, massive tires, remarkable off-road stability and race ready suspension, the Hummer is excellent in every sense of the word. A showstopper on every front, it is a status symbol and and American idol through and through

Posted in Buick/GMC EVs, EV, GM, Hummer