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How Would You Power A Brand-New Humvee Kit?

George Kennedy

So you say you want a legit military Humvee, but you’re expectations are higher than a used AM General ride with a bunch of miles on the odometer? You could search the land over for a barely used H1, OR you could build one of your own.

AM General is back to building Humvees, but it would be damn near impossible to meet EPA regulations. Any engine powerful enough to move the 5,000-plus leviathan would surely not meet future CAFE fuel emission standards. So the company found a great end-around of the rules. It comes without an engine for $59,995.


This news broke late last year, but it got us thinking. What engine would you put in a Hummer all your own? This vehicle pretty much became a pariah for its low MPG so you have to choose wisely.

If you wanted to put up a middle finger to your green-thumbed neighbors, you could roll with a GM 6.6-liter Duramax diesel and Allison transmission combination. The trans comes out of an M1 Abrams battle tank. So there’s that.


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There are plenty of other large engines. Perhaps 850 horsepower out of a Shelby GT500, or the 556 horsepower unit from a Cadillac CTS-V. Sure, stupendous power is great, but how little power could you get away with and still built a Humvee that you would want to drive?

Shelby Super Snake

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Last year the U.S. Army rolled out a new Humvee replacement concept featuring a hybrid powertrain. That powertrain comes with a 4.4-liter Ford-sourced diesel V8. That powertrain is claimed to achieve 14.2 mpg highway.

Hummer Hybrid

What if you didn’t want to burden your bare-bones Humvee with a weighty (and complicated) hybrid powertrain system? There are other ways.

Back in 2009, GM introduced its E-Rod crate engine. The goal was to give classic car enthusiasts and crate engine shoppers a largely green alternative. In 2011 GM Performance Parts built a 1957 Chevy Bel Air using an E-Rod crate engine that returned 23 MPG highway. They used a 5.3-liter crate engine, and worked in special wiring harnesses, an updated ECU, an electronic throttle, and a hefty list of other modifications. The result was a big American land barge that pushed 430 horsepower. Enough to move the massive Humvee.

GM E-Rod

The E-Rod seems like a perfect fit, but it will be interesting to see what automakers will roll out in the years to come for their larger vehicles. As automakers will full-size or heavy-duty vehicles in their lineup continue to develop new, more fuel-efficient high-powered drivetrains, it represents opportunities for the aftermarket.

So, what’s it gonna be? Duramax? E-Rod? A Ford EcoBoost V6? Time will tell what owners choose to put under the hood (well, right in the middle, technically) of their military-based beasts.