For the first time in the vehicle’s history, the US Army will be offering camo-covered Humvees for sale to the general public. According to Army Times, the Department of Defense will selling off as many as 4,000 of the iconic vehicles at auction, rather than scrapping them as the department has done in the past. Buying a humvee does come with one giant caveat, however—the vehicle is for off-road use only.
IronPlanet, the online marketplace that won the contract to sell the first batch of 25 Humvees, does not expect the limitation to dampen interest much.
“We definitely see lots of interest, and we’re certainly excited to have the opportunity to sell these,” Randy Berry, IronPlanet’s senior vice president for operations and services, told Army Times. “These items have been scrapped up to now … so it’s a win for the taxpayers and everybody involved here.”
The sale was made possible by cooperation between the US State and Commerce departments, which eventually allowed the Defense Logistics Agency to take over sale of the vehicles. Surplus Humvees were previously taken to the military scrapyard for parts, frustrating the efforts of many collectors who wished to purchase them. AM General, the manufacturer of the Humvee line for the US Army since 1985, has opposed the sale of the vehicles to the general public due to concerns over their use, and possible competition with their civilian-oriented Hummer, which ended production in 2010.
The first 25 Humvees up for bidding are now sitting in a lot at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Like all of the other vehicles that the Department of Defense are considering for release into the civilian market, these Humvees are used. In a press release, IronPlanet confirmed that these Humvees are models M998, M998A1, and M1038A1, which designates the vehicles as troop and cargo carriers. Any kind of specialized military hardware, such as armor and mounted weaponry, has been removed.
“We will be offering military Humvees of various model years and configurations all backed by the industry’s only guaranteed inspection reports,” Berry said in the press release.
According to the auction page, which went live on December 17, most of the first 25 vehicles were built between 1990 and 1994. The starting bid on all the Humvees stands at $10,000.
Getting one of these rugged military vehicles means that a buyer will have to jump over a few hurdles—the first of which is retrieving any purchased Humvees from the Utah base on their own dime. Yahoo News reported that payment from winning bidders is due within three days of the sale, and the purchaser is expected to sign documents detailing how the vehicles can be used. That does not include cruising on the highway, as the Humvees are specifically prohibited from road travel. There will also be no titles for the vehicles, due to their military heritage.
Still, interest in the Humvee, officially known as the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), remains high. The vehicles are especially well-suited to off-roading and have proven to be an excellent way of traversing desert and arctic environments. Due to the limitations on use, it is likely that the Humvees purchased from IronPlanet will be used mainly for off-road recreation, and possibly hunting. As for its future in the US military, the Army, USSOCOM, and Marine Corps are currently working on a replacement for the Humvee called the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), which would provide soldiers with a light, but armored wheeled vehicle with significantly more protection and combat capability than the Humvee.
Image courtesy Shawn Hussong/US Navy.