5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Hummer

On March 22, 1983, the Pentagon awarded a contract worth more than $1 billion to AM General Corporation to develop 55,000 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, nicknamed the Humvee. Here are 5 things you didn't know about the origins of the Hummer....

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The Name of the Military Version Is Hard to Remember Hummer is short for Humvee, which in turn is short for "High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle," the military Daddy to the civilian Hummer. No wonder the name got shortened. Incidentally, the original Humvee got its squashed, flat-roof appearance from the fact that as big as it is, it still had to fit under the wing of a cargo airplane. The Humvee was to the first Gulf War what the Jeep was to World War II. 

It Was First Used During Operation Just Cause The first military use of the Humvee took place during the land invasion of Panama, which was codenamed Operation Just Cause.  The operation lasted over a month between mid-December 1989 and late January 1990.  The operation's outcome included the arrest of dictator Manuel Noriega who was wanted by the United States for racketeering and drug trafficking. Following the operation, the Panama Defense Forces were dissolved. The Humvee gained more considerable publicity during Operation Desert Storm. However, the operation's active phase lasted 100 hours, and smaller ground vehicles including the Humvee saw limited engagements with Iraqi forces.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Helped Bring It To The Masses Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger saw the Humvee as a business opportunity when he drove one in Kindergarten Cop in 1990. He contacted AM General and urged them to make the vehicle available to the public. Although hesitant at first, the company marketed the Hummer H1 in 1992 with the consumer choice of several versions, including a pickup, station wagon and slantback.

The Concept Hummer Was Green All the Way A Hummer concept vehicle won an award in 2006 for environmental sustainability in design. The concept, called the Hummer O2, had algae-filled body panels that used photosynthesis to take carbon dioxide out of the air and to produce oxygen, which was released into the atmosphere, inside and outside the vehicle. The concept was built entirely with recycled materials, and ran on hydrogen fuel cells.

Difficult Economic Times Killed The Hummer The gas crises in the mid 2000s and the 2008 economic crash hurt the popularity of the H2 and H3, and they became to be seen as caricatures of an era of excess and cheap oil. H2 sales had slowed to a trickle by 2009, the last year of production. H2 production ended in 2009 while the last H3 rolled out of the factory in 2010.