World Encyclopedia of Cars
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Hummer

Hummer

Up to date Hummer stays the most popular car of AM General. AM General history began in 1903 when bicycle Standart Wheel Company decided to enter the arising car market. For this purpose Overland Automotive Division was founded which released first Runabout model. In 1908 the company was bought by John North Willys and in 1912 Willys-Overland Company was founded. The company began to produce famous Willys-Knight series and later presented Whippet model. In 1953 Willys-Overland company was bought by Henry J. Kaiser who renamed it in Willys Motors Inc. Soon the company had won Studebecker Corporation a government tender for production of military trucks.

But freedom lasted not so long time. In 1970 company was passed into American Motors Corporation and received a new name of Jeep Corporation. It consisted of two divisions - Commercial Products Division and General Products Division. In 1971 General Products Division continued to be formal division of American Motors and was named AM General Corporation.

Hummer history goes back to 1979. Thus was a time when American army had announced a tender for creation of tactical car as alternate of CJ series little jeep (in civil version is known as Jeep Wrangler). A year later - in July 1980 - AM General begun testing of its HMMWV pilot model in Nevada desert. Over next 10 months AM General pilots had won contracts of its rivals from General Dynamics and Teledyne and started in life.

Despite that government contract guaranteed ease life in 80-ies company twice had changed owners and in 1992 became the property of Renco Group Inc. The Gulf war was a kind of advertisement for basic AM General model - the HMMWV car which has become a hero of multiple stories from battle fields.

Thanks to increased public interest to Hummer AM General management had made a suggestion to issue civil version of car. Thus the Hammer was born - the hugest offroadster in the world.

In technical way military HMMWV and civil Hummer almost had no differences (of course, excluding amour, clamps for gun mounting and different communication tools). Both cars were equipped with 6.5 liters turbo diesel engine with maximal torque of 583 Nm, independent suspension for all four wheels and unique full-drive system and standard three- or rather four- speed gearbox. But substantial differences were observed inside of compartment. Expensive offroadster (almost 70000 $) could not be as ascetic as its military prototype which was designed exclusively as functional car. That's why GM designers seriously modified interior trim of civil Hummer - everything in it was as it should be in a serious car.

With the course of time company understood that for more serious success it is necessary to change car appearance and the H2 or Baby Hummer was issued. Basic idea of new jeep that it should ceased to be such a cool exotic. Designers tried in maximal way to abstract of jeep's military history. Baby Hummer must be more popular and reasonable not only for American militaries and millionaires but for middle class too. That's why on H2 presentation in Detroit its mount was swamped with colorful Hammer's photos. At the wheel instead of masculine vets of Vietnam and Kuwait wars set harmless young man in suit and the roof instead of angry howitzers was adorned by peaceful bicycles.

Baby Hummer decreased its dimensions substantially - its length was only 4.52 meters, width -2.04 m and wheelbase dimensions were reduced up to 3.12 m.

Inner trim of Jeep was also considerably changed - its functionality gave place to define comfort. However, qualities that caught fancies of former owners - powerful suspension, exceptional passability, reliability and robustness - can not be denied. Baby Hummer remained its powerful 6.5 liter sliding head. GM reasonably suggested that "leave well enough alone" and left old engine. Besides, huge quantities of options were suggested for H2; from GPS, DVD player and Internet access to night vision device.

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