Talk about a niche market.
Last month at Auto Shanghai, we learned that the VLF Automotive trio consisting of former GM product guru Bob Lutz, Henrik Fisker of Fisker Karma fame, and former Boeing executive Gilbert Villarreal, have taken up a new project alongside their current crop of rebodied Viper and Mustangs and Corvette ZR1-powered Karmas (aka the Destino): the Humvee C-Series, a street-legal version of the American military icon. The company responsible for selling the car is appropriately called Humvee Export.
According to Car and Driver, VLF has been contracted by a group of Humvee enthusiasts and businessmen to build new H1 Hummers with GM powertrains – for wealthy Chinese customers only. Production will take place in Michigan, marking the first time since 2006 that a new C-Series will be built following GM’s shuttering of the brand. These reincarnated H1s will come powered by one of four GM engines: a 6.5-liter diesel V8 with a choice of 190 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque, 205 hp and 440 lb-ft, or 250 hp and 440 lb-ft, or (and this is our personal favorite) the current LS3 6.2-liter V8 with 430 hp and 424 lb-ft.
Three trim levels will be available, called Bravo, Charlie and Delta, each offering varying levels of luxury features like steel doors and a six-speaker stereo. Buyers will also pick one of four military-style paint schemes. Humvee Exports also works with other foreign markets to build and ship completed C-Series Hummers, but the US, at least for now, is completely out of luck. Humvee Export president John Costin very accurately described these Chinese C-Series buyers as “a niche market” and that “there are people who want to have the most fun at 5 or 6 mph.” These completed Humvees will look nearly identical to their early 1990s ancestors and will easily cost more than $150,000 apiece. Fuel economy? Try 5 mpg.
Costin also added the company is planning up to 100 finished vehicles by the end of this year. So the next time you’re in China some all-American Hummer badassery may be found roaming the streets, but it’s a shame that car crunching fun won’t be happening stateside.