What is the world coming to? There I was minding my own business watching other peoples’ business on TV when a commercial came on for the new H3. For those not in the know, the new H3 is the code name for the third instalment of the Hummer series of vehicles. Yes, just like a bad Halloween movie franchise, the Hummer keeps coming back in new incarnations.
What intrigued me upon seeing the latest version of the Hummer is that it did not appear to be significantly different from any other mammoth SUV-type mode of transportation available on the market. The appeal of the original Hummer to men anyway was that it was the size of a small football stadium on wheels.
We were first introduced to the larger than life Hummer during the first Gulf War against Iraq. The Hummer, or HumV as it was called back then, was the replacement for the erstwhile ’44 Jeep Willy. The ’44 Jeep Willy was made famous during the Second World War, and countless Hollywood war movies, and could easily fit in the passenger seat of the HumV.
The original military version of the HumV, adorned with wobbly antennae, was the admiration, and envy, of the millions of American men who drove around in Monster Trucks. Military brass, always able to sense the pulse of the citizenry, immediately classified the plans for the HumV as ultra-top-secret lest the vehicle prove to be a popular market commodity.
Fortunately, the Chinese government swiped the ultra-top-secret plans from the desk of a secretary and sold them back to the military along with a business plan.
Thus, the H1 was born. It was an impressive vehicle, just like the military version except for the wobbly antennae. It took up two lanes on your standard highway. It cost more than your first house. It could be your first house. It had total disregard for fuel consumption. You could actually see half of the gasoline evaporate before your eyes while you filled it up.
So you can understand that I was quite frankly disappointed with the appearance of the H3. It looked like it would inject no more fear into the driver of one of those tiny Mercedes Smart cars than an ordinary school bus would.
To confirm my suspicions, I looked up the specifications for all three versions of the Hummer on the interweb. The H1 was 184.5 inches long, 86.5 inches wide, and weighed in at 7,847 pounds. In this corner, we have the H2 at 203.6 inches long (this includes the rear tire carrier), 81.2 inches wide, and weighing in at 6,400 pounds. And, yes, they actually started to measure the dimensions of this vehicle to the tenth of an inch. In that corner, the H3 measures 186.7 inches long (with the tire carrier), 74.7 inches wide, and is a lightweight at 4,700 pounds. This is a disturbing trend. At this rate, the H12 will be approximately 190 inches long, 14 inches wide, and weigh 23 ounces; a frightening prospect.
Even more disturbing is that I encountered utterly foreign terms while I was reading the specifications for the Hummer. It seems that the following specified items are of some import to prospective owners:
Approach and Departure Angles. These sound like aircraft terms for landing and taking off. Does the Hummer fly?
Water Fording Depth. This sounds like a nautical term. Does the Hummer swim as well?
And don’t get me started on the features. For those who think humor writers make up funny sounding words and terms, these are actual features that are available for dressing up your standard Hummer: hypoid axles, helical cut geared hubs, tubular side step, rotating pintle receive hitch, electronic road flare, monotube gas charged shocks, rubber mudder floor mats, and multi-leaf, semi-elliptic, dual-stage leaf springs.
To prove that the Hummer is evolving into nothing more than another entry in the crowded SUV marketplace, you can get heated front seats in your option package. What is the world coming to?
Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and is the principal behind the services of Statistics Courses. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.