Anyone in the 4x4 world knows of the H1 Hummer and its fine reputation for being extremely capable off-road, but slow. And though it is big and beefy, it's also slow. That's why many owners and 4x4 shops have yanked the slug of a 6.5 GM diesel out and slipped in everything from big-block brutes to massive diesel mills in the quest for speed and power. But what if the Hummer factory did the same thing, and decreased the 0-60 time from two days to just under 13.5 seconds, and at the same time provided a 46 percent increase in horsepower and an 18 percent increase in torque? Enter the new Hummer H1 Alpha series, which is factory-equipped not only with the famed Duramax diesel engine and Allison 1000 transmission, but also a host of other upgrades and features that will make this new version of the Hummer one that is sure to please even the most ardent opponents.
Private owners have swapped a few Duramax/Allison combos into H1s before, but it took the Hummer engineers to do it right. As great as the engine and transmission combo is, it wasn't designed to operate in the same environment or even at the 60 percent grade ability that the Hummer does, so massive modifications were made, as well as an integral 2-inch body lift to make everything fit correctly. Other Alpha upgrades include new helical-geared portal hubs for less rocking and noise, and vastly improved cooling of everything from the engine to the transfer case. And while the engineers were having fun improving the H1, Hummer now offers Eaton ELocker selectable lockers in both axles when you order the Adventure Package, which also nets you a 12,000-pound Warn winch and 37-inch Goodyear MT/R tires on forged dual bead-locked wheels with runflat ability. And did we mention the Central Tire Inflation System, which is standard, and the new 50-gallon fuel tank for a 600-mile range? Oh yeah, don't forget the bigger shafts in the NV242 transfer case or beefier halfshafts in the axles, the beefier steering box, or the new, nicer interior either.
While still wide and heavy, the new Hummer H1 Alpha is a significant improvement over the old H1, which has fought many battles to be accepted into the realm of regular wheeling-dom. True, this beast is not exactly cheap at around $140,000 MSRP, but then again technology never is at first. And no, you won't be picking up used H1s at bargain basement prices either, but for a significant segment of off-roaders, the new Alpha series will be the hot ticket to a much more capable 4x4. We had the chance to flog one over a Nevada test course, and even enjoyed slamming them down on the T6 aluminum rocker protection (without any problems) just for fun. Big, not slow, much nicer on the inside and outside, and with many new technological advances, it is just what the H1 needed, and the Alpha designation delivers what owners have wanted. Expect to see many more of these beasts on the trail in the future, as they just keep getting better.