Posts from ‘Hummer’
by John Biel
Note: The following story was excerpted from the December 2018 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
Hummer was badly wounded in 2008, first by the rapid rise in gasoline prices and then by the increasingly shaky economy. Ultimately, though, the brand was a casualty of General Motors’s June 1, 2009, bankruptcy filing, and with it went an intriguing vehicle that was snuffed out soon after its arrival.
Created for the U.S. military, the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, and more colloquially, Humvee) was engineered as a replacement for the M151 jeep vehicles and other light trucks that were previously the Armed Forces’ primary modes of light-duty transportation.
Americans tend to enjoy their engine cylinder counts in even numbers. Engines of 4-, 6-, and 8 cylinders have powered an overwhelmingly large majority of the vehicles ever sold in the U.S, and for good reason.
In 2015, there are no truly bad new cars. You can argue the veracity of that statement if you wish, but at no point in automotive history has it been harder to pick a car you might call “bad.” Sure, the current-generation Mitsubishi Mirage has its detractors, and not without cause, but what would you say is the 2nd-worst car?
No less a luminary than Mark Twain once noted, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Yet, despite Mr. Clemens’ call for deeper consideration of the things we appreciate, Americans have always put a premium on size. We like our TVs, BBQ grilles, and fountain beverages extra large, and, based on the popularity of Kim Kardashian, we tend to prefer select elements of our popular icons on the generous side as well.
General Motors wasn’t the only company to have its financial frailty exposed by the 2008 financial meltdown, but it was among the corporate giants that very nearly didn’t survive the crisis. Saddled with more brands than Mike and Carol Brady had kids, it became clear that Sophie’s Choice-level decisions needed to be made.
List three is all about car/SUV-based pickups. Maybe you’re seeing more of these around than I am, because my impression is that they’ve all but vanished. Like most rarely seen vehicles, unless you see one on a regular basis, you likely don’t see any of these oddities at all. Let us know if you spot one, and we’ll add your name to the Daily Drive Sharp-Eyed Reader List*.
We at Consumer Guide often let major anniversaries slip by unnoticed, instead paying undue attention to lesser milestones. In keeping with that fine tradition, we honor the introduction of the poster child for wasteful motoring. And yes — it really has been ten years since you first saw a Hummer H2.
History has been unkind to the Hummer brand, and for the most part, rightly so. It would be hard to point at any General Motors project that better demonstrated a culture of commercial crassness, environmental tone-deafness, and just plain shortsightedness.
I haven’t had a eureka moment in the car in years. You’d think that someone with a long commute would occasionally, when deep in thought, stumble upon a perfect solution or a brilliant plan—but not so much. Unless you consider remembering to pick up sriracha and Diet Pepsi brilliant, I’m not getting too much mental business done while in transit.