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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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March Military Campaign: The First Humvee

Posted March 07, 2011 10:15 AM by dstrohl

In recognition of our March Military Campaign, let's take a break from considering the collector-worthiness of all those namby-pamby civilian passenger vehicles from 1986 and look at a vehicle that has surely earned its stripes: the AM General HMMWV, a.k.a. the Humvee.

Designed in 1979 to replace a number of vehicles then in the U.S. Army's motor pools - including the M561 Gama Goat and the M151 Mutt - the High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle was one of three designs submitted, the other two coming from Chrysler and Teledyne Continental.

In 1983 the U.S. Army awarded the first of a number of contracts for HMMWV production to AM General. With the M998 designation, it went into production in the fall of 1984, and has remained in constant production since then, evolving over the years to meet changing field requirements - variants include pickups, ambulances, armament carriers and the more recent uparmored versions.

With full-time four-wheel-drive, independent suspension front and rear, a GM-sourced 6.2L diesel V-8 engine, along with a host of other goodies, it proved plenty capable in off-road conditions, enough to directly inspire a civilian version, the 1992 Hummer H1, as well as a couple of Chinese knockoffs. According to AM General, more than 190,000 total HMMWVs have been built. Only in recent years has the Army moved to find a replacement for the highly extensible HMMWV.

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Re: March Military Campaign: The First Humvee

03/08/2011 1:14 AM

The birth of the HMMWV was the death knell of the real work horse of my army, the M-151A2. AKA... the Jeep. I remember working on my baby in the motor pool, the day the first HumVee showed up. Someone said that it was going to replace both my beloved jeep, and the awkward looking articulated "Goat". I couldn't believe it. I wouldn't believe it. I'd taken my M151 through some of the steepest inclines(almost tipping backwards), through some of the deepest mudholes (well over my lap) and through some of the densest woodland forests possible, without a path or road. You could hide her under a bush and a few handfuls of grass. NOTHING could replace my jeep. You could fix her in a matter of minutes if something broke. Everything was wide open to see and replace.

Who was this fat, wide behemoth that thought it could do the job of a jeep? No way. Won't happen.

Turns out I drove one of the last M-151A2 Jeeps ever made. She went out in style. Her name was Sally. I named her after the Solidernosc (Solidarity) Movement that had just gone down in Poland, ushering in the fall of the Iron Curtain and the rise of democracy in Eastern Europe.

Sally is gone now. And these days I'm driving Sally IV. She's a Jeep Wrangler. But nothing will ever be the same as those spirited little army jeeps that got our soldiers through so many of America's wars, and never complained.

HumVee... bah. It'll never last.


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In reply to #1

Re: March Military Campaign: The First Humvee

03/09/2011 12:28 AM

"HumVee... bah. It'll never last"

No they don't. Especially when things go bang under that big, wide, flat, low tummy.

But I guess that explains the last line of the OP

There is no sin except stupidity. (Oscar Wilde, Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 - 1900))
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