5 Uses for a Dead Hummer (from TTAC)
GM purchased HUMMER in 1988. Big mistake. Or was it? HUMMER is an enormously strong automotive brand. Its products are as instantly recognizable as the Chevy Malibu is utterly forgettable. In terms of the cultural gestalt, the automotive world hasn’t seen such a divisive vehicle since the days when a Rolls Royce was THE emblem of economic exploitation. HUMMER said I’ll see your class warfare and raise you . . . an imperialistic invasion! Love it or loathe it, you’ve got to love it or loathe it. If [like] nothing else, there’s a Hirst of modern artists who’d give their left ear to create an object as controversial, as deeply polarizing and emotionally engaging as the HUMMER H2. The H3 not so much. Now, we could debate how GM could have made HUMMER a financial success. But that would be a bit like arguing over how we could have “won” the second Gulf War. So let’s just ask the next most logical question, what can you do with a dead HUMMER?
1. Bury ten HUMMERS nose down in the Iraqi desert – Obviously, this idea is a riff on the Cadillac Ranch. According to the hive mind at Wikipedia, the Texas dead Caddy installation makes a statement “about the paradoxical simultaneous American fascinations with both a ’sense of place’ — and roadside attractions, such as The Ranch itself — and the mobility and freedom of the automobile.” Crap.
The Ant Farm’s artistic collaboration’s seminal work was a condemnation/celebration of America’s conspicuous consumption and planned obsolescence, back when the Cadillac brand represented middle class automotive aspirations (1974), in the heart of “Bigger is Better” America. [The display’s graffiti desecration is a real shame.] By the same token, a collection of dirt-diving HUMMERS in Iraq would be a condemnation/celebration of America’s militaristic ambitions, in the heart of oil-producing manifest destiny-land. The fact that H2s are not HUMVEEs only makes the irony more delicious. Hoo-rah!
2. Turn them into beach huts – The HUMMER H2’s distinctly over-sized, architectural, non-aerodynamic design makes it a pig on the road, with gigantic blind spots and pathetic interior packaging. And yet, there’s something deeply compelling about the vehicle’s unremitting, slab-sided angularity. GM recognized this USP (Unique Selling Point), to the extent that they asked their doomed dealers to spend $1 million each to build Quonset Hut-style showrooms. But, as you can see from the original example above, they missed the fact that there was no arc to the HUMMER story.
But . . . if you remove the H2’s wheels and hollow out the inside, the vehicle would make a compelling, mini-me militaristic structure. It says fortress. Place a row of modified HUMMER H2s on the beach, and they would present an entirely practical place for bathers to change into their bathing suits and store their umbrellas, radios, beer-filled refrigerator, etc. The irony works well: we’re here, on the beachhead, enjoying the fruits of freedom that our soldiers died to protect. Hoo-rah!
Alternatively, how about a duck blind? Guns and HUMMERS are like porn stars and white, spiked high heels.
3. Convert them to run on battery power, plaster them with EV decals and drive them – Electric and hybrid car drivers have an image problem. Some parts of society (you know who you are) see owners of alt power whips as wimpy, tree-hugging slaves suffering from hypocritical, holier-than-thou eco-fashionista-ism. Just as John Lennon’s psychedelic Roller took the mickey out of Rolls’ class warrior problems, a battery-powered H2 would “solve” HUMMER’s problems in a heart beat. Humor can do that. It would be too late for the brand, obviously. But not too late for fans of the brand. Oh, and the fact that an EV HUMMER H2 wouldn’t be able to sit four people (which it can barely do at the moment) and would only travel, say, 50 miles on a charge, has nothing to do with it. Obviously.
4. Turn them into convertibles – The H2 is almost as prone to rolling as Cheech and Chong. So it’s not the most logical candidate for a chop top. But c’mon, look at this thing! At a single stroke—or extended encounter with a determined Sawzall operator—the H2 has been transformed from an automotive paean to Living in a Box’ eponymous single into a deeply desirable off-roader. Alternatively, it turns the H2’s embodiment of the Wild, Wild West’s villains “kill, crush, destroy” mantra into “I’m a Barbie girl!” Or something like that. While I’d be tempted to install a slightly more utilitarian interior, perhaps an even more eye-searing color could change my mind (red leather, yellow leather, red leather, yellow leather?).
5. Display crashed H2s at High Schools – I’m a big fan of the current trend of parking smashed vehicles in front of high schools, to warn teenage drivers not to drink and drive (or take a left turn on red). Ever since the pussies in charge of Driver’s Ed stopped showing gory accident movies, the system has singularly failed to create a subconscious link between driving and decapitation. And disfigurement. Let the IIHS smash a bunch of H2s into Duesenbergs, and then plop one of these bad boys on the lawn. The youth of America will know that SUVs are no defense against the dark arts, still perpetuated by the dead-but-still-living he-who-must-not-be-named (General Motors).