This High Tech Hummer Rises To A Whole New Level!
Text by Joe Greeves
Few vehicles have intrigued automotive enthusiasts more than the legendary Hummer. Ultra-wide with aggressive lines from any angle, the truck’s battlefield heritage is immediately apparent. Originally created by AM General and later marketed by General Motors, the H1 is a civilianized version of the combat Humvee. Much of its bruiser profile is derived from the original MILSPEC requirement for a vehicle capable of following in the tracks and ruts of larger military equipment. While the vehicles proved their worth in Operation Desert Storm and became a favorite in the off-road community, the problems began when these super-sized vehicles arrived on city streets. Their width made it difficult to drive, hard to park, and a challenge to fit in the average garage. When oil prices rose, the combination of an underpowered engine and mileage in the single digits contributed to the truck’s demise. Although GM shut down the plant in 2010, a huge number of enthusiasts around the world are still intrigued with the vehicle.
Chas Bruck, a real estate developer in Tampa, is one of those as well as an avid collector of super cars. A highly modified H1 would be the perfect addition to his collection. Through word of mouth, he heard that few builders had more expertise with Hummers than Adam Pela from X-treme Hummer Performance in Jupiter, Florida. The XHP team has been involved in Duramax vehicles and tuning since 2002 and Duramax-powered H1’s since 2012, with dozens of magazine-quality rides to their credit. Pela and Bruck sat down to review a long list of upgrades that would transform his rough civilian H1 into something perfectly at home in his super car collection. The craftsmen involved in the year long effort created a level of performance and detail that elevates this vehicle to bench mark status in the Hummer community.
A firm foundation is critical since everything else depends on it. Modifications to Bruck’s 1996 H1 began with the Hummer’s front and rear axles upgraded with aluminum AMC 20 differential housings fitted with Torsen torque-sensing differentials and 12K CV half shafts. After a set of XHP-fabricated shock mounts were added, all four corners were fitted with King remote reservoir shocks. The custom baffled aluminum fuel tank was protected with a steel skid plate and an additional cross member was welded to the chassis to increase torsional resistance. The truck rolls on 22 X 12 American Force Special Forces rims wrapped in 37 X 13.50 X 22 Toyo Open Country Mud Terrain tires.
Making the Hummer’s performance more suitable for the street began with XHP pulling the original 6.5L non turbo motor and swapping in the more aggressive 2007 LBZ Duramax 6.6L conversion. Free breathing improvements began with a Danville Performance 65mm Stage 2 Batmo Wheel turbo using Pusher Intakes Super Max intake with a 3-inch charge tube and Y-Bridge assembly. Exergy Engineering Sportsman injectors, ported fuel rail fittings, and high-performance Sportsman CP3 fuel pump provided the air/fuel mix while the flat black ceramic coated 4-inch diameter high flow exhaust manifold dumped spent gases. Keeping temps in the green was the job of the Griffin aluminum radiator cooling package equipped with dual electric fans and sporting a matte black urethane finish. Final engine tuning was accomplished by the team at
Dmaxswap.com. resulting in a stout 525 hp at the wheels. No-Zone Diesel reworked the Allison trans with a Goerend billet triple disc torque converter and a heavy duty NP263-XHD electric-shift transfer case, a combination strong enough to handle 750 hp so there’s still room for future mods.
In order to ensure the Hummer stood out from the crowd, XHP began a series of external modifications with LED headlights, custom LED taillights, roof mounted LED light bar, power and heated H1 mirrors, as well as XHP-built front bumper and brush guard to hold the Warn 16K winch. The synthetic cable and Factor 55 winch accessories will probably see more use helping others out of difficult situations. Moving to the rear, the bed side panels were fitted with additional aluminum bracing to add rigidity, then the inside of the bed was sprayed with Raptor spray on lining. A Predator bed rack is a functional addition. XHP collaborated with Street Metal Concepts in Sanford, FL on the exterior and interior. Their sheet metal and paint experts added a custom aluminum hood scoop, CNC machined logos, and prepped the truck for paint. The H1’s aluminum body does not lend itself easily to high-end fit and finish so extra effort was required at every level. In fact, each rivet in the body was soda blasted to ensure perfectly smooth panels, then the hood was reshaped with edge extensions using SMC fiberglass resin to ensure tight cut lines. The steel doors were stripped to bare metal and worked until they were better than new. Once the aluminum panels were media blasted, the entire truck was sprayed with PPG epoxy paint, followed by catalyzed flexible seam sealer in order to create a paint surface usually found on high-priced exotics. The final color is a custom mix of 60’s Jaguar British Racing Green and Brooklands Green with additional black toner, followed by multiple urethane clear coats. The Street Metal Concepts team moved inside, scrapping most of the original interior and employing CAD modeling techniques along with CNC lasers to create the elegant cabin appointments. The redesigned dash features custom A/C vent housings for the Vintage Air using hand-fabricated plenums. The distinctive seats feature CNC-machined high density polyethylene seat backs with the seats, dash, and Momo flat bottom wheel upholstered in Moroccan Muted Orange and Dark Charcoal vinyl, stitched by Avant Guard Designs in Palm City, Florida. The high-tech electronic package begins with a Ride Controller Bluetooth system that controls all of the accessories as well as the audio and video. For the ultimate approach to safety, the truck is outfitted with four cameras that look forward, backward, and when the blinker is activated, either side. Images are displayed on the pair of LCD screens in the center console. The iPad-controlled stereo features two JL Audio Marine Series amplifiers, eight 6.5-inch component sets, and a pair of 10-inch subs, along with an overhead console, all housed in CNC-cut, high-density polyethylene enclosures.
Inside, outside, and under the hood, the completed truck is a rolling work of automotive art, perfectly suited to take its place among the high end and off-road vehicles in Bruck’s collection.
YEAR/MAKE/MODEL: 1996 Hummer H1
OWNER: Chas Bruck
HOMETOWN: Tampa, Florida
ODOMETER: Approximately 31,000 miles
ENGINE: 2007 LBZ Duramax 6.6L
FUEL: Exergy Engineering Sportsman injectors, ported fuel rail fittings, and high-performance Sportsman CP3 fuel pump
AIR: Danville Performance 65mm Stage 2 Batmo Wheel turbo, Pusher Intakes Super Max intake, 3-inch charge tube and Y-Bridge assembly.
EXHAUST: Flat black ceramic coated 4-inch diameter high flow exhaust manifold
TRANSMISSION: Allison updated with a Goerend billet triple disc torque converter and NP263-XHD electric-shift transfer case
HORSEPOWER: 525 hp to the rear wheels.
TORQUE: 950 Lb. Ft.
TIRES: 37 X 13.50 X 22 Toyo Open Country Mud Terrain tires.
WHEELS: 22 X 12 American Force Special Forces rims
SUSPENSION: Front and rear AMC 20 differential housings, Torsen torque-sensing differentials, 12K CV half shafts, King remote reservoir shocks
INTERIOR: Custom throughout with seats, door panels, headliner and Momo wheel in Moroccan Muted Orange and Dark Charcoal Vinyl, electronics include multiple exterior cameras feeding a pair of centrally mounted LCD monitors, an elaborate stereo package that begins with an iPad controller and a JL Audio 4-channel amplifier for the component sets in the doors and overhead console along with a second JL Audio Mono amp for the pair of 10-inch subs.
FUN FACT: The restoration of a Hummer is NOT for the faint of heart or pocket but the results are worth it. XHP’s Duramax conversion nearly triples the output of the factory drivetrain in this H1.