2023 Bull Market Pick: 1992–06 AM General Hummer H1
Welcome back to the Hagerty Bull Market List, our annual deep dive into the collector cars (and bikes) climbing the value ranks. This vehicle is one of 11 chosen for the 2023 installment of the List. To see the other 10, click here.
Lorenzo Detoma has nothing against technical advances. But in his 2002 Hummer H1, he finds they aren’t mandatory. “One of the things I love is how analog it is in this digital world,” he says. “The only digital piece of equipment on the whole vehicle is the odometer. It feels like a tank when you drive it, stable and confident.”
Perhaps that’s because the Hummer H1 is based, of course, on the military’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), or Humvee for short, which probably had more in common with a tank than with your average SUV.
When AM General initiated sales to civilians beginning in 1992 with a modest 316 that year, it had toned down the military-ness, but only a little. The H1 is, after all, the only vehicle in the 2023 Bull Market lineup that has big steel loops coming out of the hood, left over from where the military attached a parachute so they could launch Humvees out of the back of C-130s.
As a poster child for Operation Desert Storm, aided by the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger owned five of them and wasn’t shy about showing them off, the vehicles slowly began to find a market with serious hunters and off-roaders, with rural residents who liked its capability, and with posers who liked the image.
Buyers liked the utilitarian, no-frills H1’s status, but they paid for it. A typical one would carry a base price of about $93,000, and a list price of $110,000–$115,000 depending on the equipment optioned.
In 2001, AM General and General Motors, which had bought the rights to the name, agreed to badge the H1 as a Hummer, thus launching it as a brand. Power for all but 1 year of the civilian H1 came from a 6.5-liter turbodiesel, with 195 horsepower (later 205) and 430 lb-ft of torque. The powertrain, with the four-speed automatic, wasn’t EPA-rated due to its weight.
Still, as the word began to get out, sales peaked at 1432 in 1995 and remained fairly strong until a sag to just 252 in 2004. They rallied to 729 in 2006, the last year of H1 sales and the only year the GM-freshened Alpha model was offered. The Hummer Alpha is the holy grail of H1s, and it is by far the most valuable. GM equipped the Alpha with the company’s livelier 300-horse 6.6-liter Duramax diesel, along with a five-speed Allison transmission. It was better than the tired powertrain it replaced in every way.
Detoma has had his H1 for about 5 years and uses it frequently for off-roading near his home in Glendora, California. Other than routine maintenance, all he’s done is add front- and rear-mounted cameras. “It’s so competent off-road,” he says. “You feel like you can conquer anything.”
“The takeaways for me were the talkative diesel and the distance between the seats,” says Jason Cammisa, Hagerty video host. “It’s not long, but the thing is so wide that it’s comedic. The Hummer is the sort of thing you’d love to hate, but it’s so cool and endearing that you can’t.”
Highs: Pretty much indestructible; superb off-road; old-school cool; feels downright patriotic to drive.
Lows: Fuel mileage could cost you your Sierra Club membership; engine sounds like a jackhammer inside the cockpit; no airbags; around 7500 pounds, so damned heavy.
Price range: #1 – $146,000 #2 – $118,000 #3 – $78,900 #4 – $44,300
HAGERTY AUTO INTELLIGENCE SAYS:
With the new EV Hummer selling for mega bucks, enthusiasts are seeking out excellent examples of the original mega truck. Gen Xers (the biggest fans of collectible SUVs) own over half of all H1s protected by Hagerty, but millennial ownership is up since 2020, to almost a third. Meanwhile, appreciation since 2019 has lagged, with an increase of only 9.9 percent. All of which points to faster appreciation for the H1.
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