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Autotrader Find: High-Performance Hummer H1 Prototype

This 1998 AM General Hummer may look like virtually any other 1998 Hummer from the outside — in the sense that it’s massive, blocky and ridiculous — but it has a secret under the hood: an 8.1-liter Vortec V8, with a massive 455 lb-ft of torque, reportedly installed by General Motors in just two Hummer models as a prototype. Indeed, this is one of those two, and it’s currently listed for sale in Reno, Nevada, with 52,000 miles for $63,000.

Despite my previous Hummer ownership, I’m absolutely not an expert on these things — but here’s the story as it’s described in the listing. According to the seller, General Motors wanted to try out the massive 8100 Vortec engine in the Hummer, which (at the time) was offered only with turbodiesel V8 power. As a result, they installed the engine in just two Hummers — and just one (this one) was a "four-door-pickup" model.

The listing says the truck was covered in "Motor Trend" and tested at GM’s desert proving grounds in Arizona. For further proof of its provenance, the ad shows several images of Arnold Schwarzenegger standing next to a yellow Hummer — and while it can’t be verified that it’s the same Hummer as the one for sale, it seems like a reasonable assumption. The ad also shows that massive Vortec V8 under the hood, which must’ve provided something the Hummer seriously lacked: decent acceleration.

While $63,000 is big money for a ’98 Hummer, this is a pretty special example of the truck — perfect for the collection of any Hummer enthusiast. If such a thing exists. Find a 1998 Hummer for sale

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, that engine is really crammed into the cabin. I have never seen under the hood of an H1 before, but now the enormous center console makes sense, it’s mostly engine cover! 

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a multitude of magazine publications and websites, including here at Autotrader — where he launched the Oversteer enthusiast blog — along with Jalopnik, GQ, and The Week. His YouTube channel has hundreds of published videos and has racked up hundreds of millions of views. Today, Doug lives in San Diego, California, with his 1997 Land Rover Defender 90 NAS, 2005 Ford GT, and 2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon.

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