This aggression will not stand! Discounting Panama and top secret counter insurgency ops in other Central American countries, America hadn't been to war since Vietnam. As you might remember, that particular war didn't go so well.
And while most Americans wanted to get this Saddam guy real bad, we were a little trepidatious. But thanks to you, High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (a.k.a. HMMWV or Humvee), our fears were cast aside and we opened a can of whoop-ass on the Iraqis, forcing them back to Baghdad in just three short weeks. Nicely played.
Image Credit: photo by DOD
Arnold Gets One
Yes, well, if you're going to sell a manly truck to the masses, you're going to need the uber male to get 'er done. Enter Arnold Schwarzenegger, six-time Mr. Olympia winner and king of the Eighties action movie box office. Hey, if you're going to sell a truck all pumped up on steroids, why not pitch it with a man that knows the drill?
The very first civilian Hummer went to the future governor of California. And then he bought several more. This proved to be something of an Achilles Heel during his campaign for governor, as by that point in time, Hummers were known as wasteful, mega-polluters and symbols of obnoxious, conspicuous consumption. No problem - Arnold had one of his converted to run on veggie-diesel.
Funny foot note: Jello Biafra (and the Melvins) recorded an updated version of the Dead Kennedys' classic "California Uber Alles" in 2006 all about Governor Schwarzenegger. Some lines include, "I'll run you over with my Hummer baby, und I vill Terminate you!"
Image Credit: Photo by Chris Weeks/Liaison
GM buys Hummer, H2 Arrives
It may seem absurd in 2009, but back in the day, SUVs were the key to easy money if you were a carmaker. And hey, the bigger, the better. Thanks to our totally insane tax code, if you bought a vehicle weighing more than 6,000 pounds and used it for work (i.e. you're a farmer and need a tractor) you didn't have to pay as much in taxes. Car companies decided to ride that loophole all the way to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Still, H1 Hummers cost well over $100,000 and the margins were low. But, what if you could take a $25,000 truck, pack on 1,500 hundred pounds of extra weight and sell it for $50,000? Meet the H2, a veritable cash cow for GM in the early part of this decade. Emphasis on cow, of course. Er... on cash, too.
The Official Ride of Prom
Just look at this thing. Could any car be more American? It's almost perfect, as it follows the unwritten rule of American luxury. We don't really want anything too nice, but we want lots of it. Luxury by the pound, or in this case, by the foot. In many ways, big old Hummer limos are in fact the heirs to the giant Caddy limousines of yore. What better car to load up with hormone ravaged teenagers a few short months before they enter dull old adulthood?
Hummers Vandalized En Masse
As this decade wore on, people started to take a look around and see a few problems with Hummers. Like why, more often than not, is a three-ton vehicle being driven one-handed by a solo dude with spiky hair, a hockey jersey and a cell phone stuck to his ear? Even more sinister, some people felt the Hummer was a symbol for wretched excess and conspicuous consumption.
Solution? Burn them, Salem witchcraft style. Or just slash the tires, smash the windows and spray paint really mean things on the side. Like this.
Hummers Better for Environment than Prius?
Speaking of backlash, a certain segment of society had it in for the Toyota Prius. So frothy and out of control was their animosity that they decided to claim that a Prius is actually worse for the environment than a Hummer H2. As it turned out, little could be farther from the truth.
Oh yes, Hummer branded products. Hey, it works for Ferrari, Lamborghini, Jeep and Porsche... why not? Well, Hummer Cologne might be one reason.
Despite all the fun we've been having at Hummer's expense, the H1, H2 and H3 are all superbly competent off-road vehicles. Naturally then, they lend themselves nicely to a whole host of specialized uses. Like Red Cross disaster vehicles. More of this sort of thing, and less 24-inch dubs with scissor doors might have helped save the brand.
Mr. Bay, I'm Ready For My Closeup
A couple of years ago General Motors made a movie about cars that change into giant computerized piles of scrap. Wait - we mean fighting robots. Oh, and Michael Bay made the movie, not GM. And some of us never saw it because we turned 16 more than a decade ago. A Hummer played Ratchet, medic for the Autobots, or so other people who saw the movie tell us.
Guns + Hummers
If you can't beat 'em, shoot 'em. Or something like that. The actual story is that struggling Hummer dealers were desperate to sell anything, since people just aren't buying giant SUVs that get single digit MPGs during the worst recession since the Hooverville. Enter Lynch Hummer in Missouri, which combined the sale of fire arms with Hummers. A match made in Hell.
I Humped Your Hummer
For a lot of us, the good people over at ihumpedyourhummer.com were the only ones to truly make sense of this whole Hummer phenomenon. No, really.