It turns out that one can indeed learn something new every day. If asked which came first; the LM002 or the Humvee, I wouldn’t have hesitated to opt for the former, but I’d have been wrong. To my amazement, the big American pre-dates the even bigger (in terms of kerb weight) Italian by two years.
As has been well documented, one machine went in to full-on production and served literally dozens of armies whilst the other… well, the other one was somewhat less popular. Predictably, the unwanted and exotic Italian is the one that commands the biggest premium …
The LM002 turned out not be be that adept as a tool for covering ground in the Middle East (it was originally aimed at companies in the oil-exploration business). Having failed in the primary task it was built for there was little hope it would catch-on elsewhere, which it didn’t. Weighing-in at just under three tons and with a Countach-derived 5.2-litre V12 it was apparently incapable of greater than eight miles to the gallon. As such it required a 290-litre fuel tank (that’ll be £348 to fill at £1.20 per litre nowadays, then …)
But what a machine it must have been. Hitting 60mph from standstill in 7.7 seconds was quick for anything in 1986, but for a three ton ‘truck’ it was astonishing. Still is. With such a turn of speed it might have been considered useful, along with it’s one-off, kevlar-reinforced tyres, but alas just 328 were made. The one you see here will be sold at RM Auctions’ Scottsdale sale in January, and if it hits its upper estimate will sell for around £146,000, plus premium and taxes.
The Humvee by comparison wasn’t much of a dragster and had zero exotic appeal. However it was extremely tough, very good at negotiating awkward terrain, required little maintenance compared to the LM002 and was an enormous success. I canvassed the GRR office for estimates as to how many had been built and the highest estimate was ‘around 50,000.’ Not even close. Apparently over 300,000 Humvees in all their various guises have been built. Looking at the number of armies who use them, it would be easier to list those that don’t; such is their popularity.
Around £25,000 should get you something decent, if you really must have one. However, there are bargains to be had. The US Army has announced that it is selling off up to 4,000 of them and you might be able to bag one for as little as £6500. Their condition will inevitably vary, but each has been checked and passed as fit for sale. The snag is they are not ‘considered roadworthy’ and as such come with no US title.
However, for the growing numbers of UK off-roaders (not to mention the shooting set) an ex-military Hummer could be the way to go. They may look out of place in the Sussex countryside compared to a Range Rover, but one wouldn’t half get the job done!