Auto blogSat, 08 Sep 2012 20:01:00 EST
A quick-thinking driver in Canada put his own life on the line last month when he drove his Hummer H3 in front of a distracted driver to save four children. Darrell Krushelnicki, 46, of Taber, Alberta, saw a car about to speed through an intersection. Four kids, whose ages ranged from three to 16 years old, were in the in the crosswalk, so Krushelnicki pulled his truck in front of a silver Pontiac Pursuit (known as the Pontiac G5 in the U.S.) to prevent them from being hit.
The identity of the other driver is unknown, but the news report says the 23-year-old male was talking on his cell phone while traveling around 80 kilometers per hour (close to 50 miles per hour) in a 30 kph speed zone (less than 20 mph). Thankfully, nobody was hurt, and while there's no word as to whether the distracted driver was ticketed, police say that they're recommending Krushelnicki for an award.
For additional details, check out the news video, which we've posted below.
For anyone feeling nostalgic about the passing of the Hummer brand, or the actual wartime vehicle that inspired it, now is your chance to own a version of the original HMMWV, albeit without an engine.
After a 12-year hiatus from the civilian vehicle market, AM General is reportedly set to offer a kit-car of the C-Series Humvee. The kit will conform to U.S. government regulations and has been made possible by a deal with General Motors.
The kit costs $59,000 - and you still need an engine. A likely favorite would be a Duramax Diesel V8 and Allison transmission combination, as was found on the H1 Alpha. AM General estimates that an owner could buy the kit Humvee and outfit a powerplant and transmission for $75,000. Not bad, considering that H1 Alpha has an MSRP of $140,000 in 2005.
When General Motors put down several of its brands in recent years, it also let loose thousands of brand-loyal customers who will eventually need another car.
R.L. Polk Associates estimates there are more than 18 million cars from 16 discontinued makes on the road today. Those "orphan owners" have sales-hungry competitors seeing dollar signs. GM is offering Saturn owners $1,000 cash toward a Chevy Cruze, Cadillac CTS or a GMC Acadia. Ford is giving its Mercury lease customers a chance to get out of their contracts with no early-termination penalty and offering to waive six remaining payments if they drive off in a Ford or Lincoln.
Edmunds.com research shows the efforts are paying off somewhat for GM, with 39 percent of Pontiac owners, 37 percent of Hummer owners and 31 percent of Saturn owners taking delivery of another GM-branded vehicle. But that leaves as much as 69 percent of owners going elsewhere. Ford, Honda and Toyota seem to be attracting many former GM owners.
The military's High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), better known to most of us as the Humvee, has already served a long and distinguished career in the battlefield, and there have been a number of replacements waiting in the wings to take over where the HMMWV left off. Or, should we say, leaves off... assuming that ever happens.
It seems that the Humvee is set to get a new lease on life as military budget constraints are forcing the government to reconsider its replacement. But there are still some pesky safety issues to work out before American soldiers will feel comfortable inside the confines of the off-road box on wheels.
As you're likely aware, improvised explosive devices are an ever-increasing threat to the lives of American troops serving overseas. The Humvee, which traces its design all the way back to the year 1984 when it first saw duty as a replacement for the long-running series of military Jeeps, has seen a number of incarnations over the years that added armor and improved safety, but the latest version may feature something hitherto unseen: a chimney.
Architects Craig Hodges and HsinMing Fung joined forces in 1984 to create their agency HplusF. Since then, the pair have gone on to apply their stylistic skill to the UCLA library, Hollywood Bowl, Egyptian Theater and a number of other works of architectural art. HplusF also tackles unique installations and showpieces, one of which involves the now-departed Hummer brand.
What could easily be a luxury apartment in the video game Fallout 3 is in fact HplusF's HummerHaus. Eight identical Hummer body shells wrap around a a steel skeleton to form a living space like no other.
Of course, this is merely a concept, but it's a rather interesting one. Could old vehicles be rehabbed into affordable living spaces? Could the Hummer body have a new lease on life after it was cut from the General Motors family?
2011 MEV Hummer HX - Click above to watch the video after the jump
The 2008 Hummer HX concept was supposed to be General Motors' answer to the Jeep Wrangler. To put it mildly, that failed to materialize. General Motors killed Hummer as part of its bankruptcy-induced limb severing in 2009, before the HX could be brought to fruition as the H4, as had been rumored.
For those of you who wish the HX had indeed surfaced, we have some excellent news: My Electric Vehicle, or MEV, has appropriated the HX concept, added an electric drivetrain and created the MEV Hummer HX. The MEV HX is a fully electric golf cart resort vehicle, licensed by GM and sporting Hummer wheels and skid plates.
Zero South Biodiesel Electric Hummer - Click above for high-res image gallery
Zero South, a company that popped up at SEMA in 2008, is back again with its Biodiesel Electric Hummer. The heavily modified H1 rides on tracks at all four corners - a necessary modification, since this Hummer is designed for an expedition to the South Pole.
The trip is going to be documented by Chris Paine, who's best known for the film Who Killed the Electric Car? It was reported back in 2008 that the vehicle was going to be driven by Buzz Aldrin and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. The film is called Drive Around the World and was shot in 3D. Drive Around the World is also the name of an organization that works to inspire an urge to explore while raising money for various charities. The H1 shown above is Zero South's vehicle for participating in these expeditions.
2010 Hummer H3 - Click above for high-res image gallery
Would the last one out the door please switch off the lights? The long strange trip that has been the Hummer brand is just about over for General Motors. The final ever production H3 rolled out of GM's Shreveport, Louisiana factory on Monday May 24, 2010 on its way to an Avis rental car outlet. As you may recall, GM had actually stopped assembling H3s in mid-2009 as it went through bankruptcy, but it resumed production recently in order to fill an 849 unit special order.
GM tried to sell the Hummer brand to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co., Ltd but the deal ultimately fell apart last February. A subsequent offer from Raser Technologies also went nowhere. Now that production has ceased, 200 of the 900 remaining employees at Shreveport will be laid off by July and the rest of the Hummer staff back at headquarters in Detroit is either leaving or being reassigned.
It's getting tough for even the most ardent supporters of the Hummer brand to continue to keep hope alive. Reports the aficionados at HummerGuy.net: "While many of us were hoping for a last-minute miracle to save the Hummer brand, signs from Detroit are indicating that Hummer production will soon cease indefinitely."
It appears as if General Motors has resigned itself to winding the brand down and letting it die a slow, agonizing death. The automaker says that it's no longer considering offers for the brand and dedicated Hummer staff are reportedly be assigned to serve elsewhere.
Oh, and about that "Save Hummer" summit that's planned for April 11th near Chicago? GM, though it is aware of the rally, has no plans to send representation. That sound that you hear? That's just the tolling of Hummer's death knell. Thanks for the tip, Brian!
Team Miller Fisher finishes the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles - Click above for high-res image gallery
Team Miller Fisher has crossed the finish line of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles - in a Hummer H3 driven off a Parisian dealer's lot - and battled from 51st to 12th out of 98 teams after a mistake on the first leg. The Rallye Aïcha, a six-stage trek through the desert, allows no use of GPS, no pace notes, no cell phones, and no binoculars. Pilots and co-pilots find their way between checkpoints with maps, compasses and pencils, and whoever completes the journey in the shortest distance, wins.
The race was made even harder this year by using not the 1:100,000-scale maps of years past, but scraps of paper with increasingly less route information as the race went on. Olympic skier and co-pilot Wendy Fisher wrote to say, "This continues to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. An unbelievably tough event. Days were SO long, almost impossible to get all of the checkpoints."