THE iconic Humvee has returned, thanks to US-based Mil-Spec Automotive (MSA), who is rebuilding these iconic military off-road beasts to create new vehicles.
The Launch Edition (LE) is hand-built in MSA’s Wichita, Kansas, factory and will be powered by a monster 6.6-litre Duramax turbo-diesel engine that pumps out 372kW and 1355Nm, backed by an Allison 1000 six-speed auto gearbox. The exhaust is custom – MSA has built its own 3.5-inch diameter performance plumbing for the vehicle. All of this combines for impressive performance: expect a 0-100km/h figure of seven seconds.
The MSA H1 LE looks, as you’d expect considering the donor vehicles/chassis, most like its original military-only namesake, rather than the later civilian-market-oriented H2 and H3, with its distinctive slab sides and windscreen. At 4965mm long, 2197mm wide and 2159mm in height, this new rig ain’t exactly petite. It is, in fact, slightly longer (by 300mm) and taller (by 134mm; owing to the MSA suspension kit and off-road wheel/tyre combo) than the original H1 Hummer.
There are five configurations available: four-door ute, four-door ‘slantback’, four-door wagon, four-door ‘SUV’ (with a third-row of seats and a fibreglass, rather than steel hardtop), and a two-door ute, with an extended-length tray measuring 1900mm long, 1287mm wide and 337mm in height.
The big rig comes with some impressive off-road specs, sitting on a separate chassis remanufactured and powdercoated by MSA – where the company takes apart an original H1 chassis then rebuilds it to its own tolerances – independent suspension front/rear with heavy-duty half shafts and fixed-mount diffs, plus geared portal axle hubs, running alloy wheels and Nitto Ridge Grappler rubber.
Wading depth is 1068mm (up from the original’s 760mm) and ground clearance a high 457mm. Under-bonnet you’ll find a dual-battery setup, ARB 12V twin compressor (for tyre inflation, etc.) and a 200-amp alternator. Oddly, the steering wheel is non-adjustable (think: Land Rover Defender-like).
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The body is constructed of hardened reinforced aerospace-grade aluminium with body panels including a protective Kevlar coating (you can also opt for a gloss paint finish). There’s also an external low-profile snorkel, hood vent to keep that big oiler cool, and the engine bay is ceramic-coated.
Add in an approach angle of 57 degrees, departure of 42 degrees and ramp-over of 29 degrees, as well as a payload of 1271kg, and you’ve got a good base for a tough desert tourer.
The fully aluminium interior is all MSA-customised to ensure optimum use of the available space, with airbags, three-point seatbelts, a MSA gauge cluster, MOMO steering wheel, overhead console and very trick driver/passenger door window defrost. The windshield is also heated and all windows and mirrors are powered.
Interior lighting is all LED and there are dual USB charge points, along with oodles of storage (locking rear box, overhead and front/rear storage trays). The LED headlights keep the night lit up, while the reversing camera ensures you can see out from high up the front. You can even unleash your inner gangster thanks to the JL Audio premium sound system (with amp).
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The MSA H1 LE’s five models can also be further customised, with interior materials, paintwork and additional suspension tweaks offered by MSA. It will really depend on how deep buyers’ pockets are, with the H1 starting at US$218,499 (AU$293,555). There’s no word on Aussie availability, but for those with deep pockets who are after a seriously unique off-roader, it might be time to have a chat to the accountant…