A rough off-road ve­hi­cle be­comes lux­u­ri­ous trans­porta­tion with a 525hp Du­ra­max

Diesel Power - - Contents - Words by JOE GREEVES + Pho­tos by JOE GREEVES

FEW VE­HI­CLES have in­trigued au­to­mo­tive en­thu­si­asts more than the leg­endary Hummer. Ul­tra-wide with ag­gres­sive lines from any an­gle, the truck’s bat­tle­field her­itage is im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent. Orig­i­nally cre­ated by AM Gen­eral and later mar­keted by Gen­eral Mo­tors, the H1 is a civil­ian­ized ver­sion of the com­bat Humvee. Much of its bruiser pro­file is de­rived from the orig­i­nal MILSPEC re­quire­ment for a ve­hi­cle ca­pa­ble of fol­low­ing in the tracks and ruts of larger mil­i­tary equip­ment.

While the ve­hi­cles proved their worth in Op­er­a­tion Desert Storm and quickly be­came a fa­vorite in the off-road com­mu­nity, the prob­lems be­gan when these su­per­sized rigs hit city streets. Their width makes them dif­fi­cult to drive, hard to park, and a chal­lenge to fit in the av­er­age garage. When oil prices rose, the

com­bi­na­tion of an un­der­pow­ered en­gine and fuel mileage in the sin­gle dig­its con­trib­uted to the truck’s demise. Although GM shut down the plant in 2010, a huge num­ber of en­thu­si­asts around the world are still fas­ci­nated with this unique ve­hi­cle.

Chas Bruck, a real es­tate de­vel­oper in Tampa, Florida, is one of those fans, as well as an avid col­lec­tor of su­per­cars. He rea­soned that a highly mod­i­fied H1 would be the per­fect ad­di­tion to his col­lec­tion. Through word of mouth, he learned few builders have more ex­per­tise with Hum­mers than Adam Pela from Xtreme Hummer Per­for­mance in Jupiter, Florida. The XHP team has worked with Du­ra­max en­gines and ECM tun­ing since 2002 and Du­ra­max-pow­ered H1s since 2012, with dozens of mag­a­zinequal­ity rides to their credit. Adam and Chas sat down to re­view a long list of up­grades de­signed to trans­form the rough H1 into some­thing per­fectly at home in Chas’ su­per­car col­lec­tion. The crafts­men in­volved in the year­long ef­fort cre­ated a level of per­for­mance and de­tail that el­e­vates this ve­hi­cle to bench­mark sta­tus in the Hummer com­mu­nity.

Mod­i­fi­ca­tions to Chas’ ’96 H1 started with the front and rear axles, which were up­graded with alu­minum AMC 20 rearend hous­ings fit­ted with Torsen dif­fer­en­tials and 12,000-pound CV half­shafts. After a set of Xtreme Hummer Per­for­mance– fab­ri­cated shock mounts was added, all four cor­ners were fit­ted with King Off-Road Rac­ing Shocks re­motereser­voir shocks. The cus­tom-baf­fled alu­minum fuel tank is pro­tected with a steel skid­plate, and an ad­di­tional cross­mem­ber is welded to the chas­sis to in­crease tor­sional re­sis­tance.

“Although GM shut down the plant in 2010, a huge num­ber of en­thu­si­asts around the world are still fas­ci­nated with this unique ve­hi­cle.”

The truck rolls on 22x12 Spe­cial Forces rims from Amer­i­can Force, wrapped in 37x13.50R22 Toyo Open Coun­try Mud Ter­rain tires.

Mak­ing the Hummer’s per­for­mance more suit­able for the street be­gan with XHP pulling the orig­i­nal 6.5L non-turbo en­gine and swap­ping in a more ag­gres­sive ’07 6.6L Du­ra­max LBZ. Breath­ing im­prove­ments be­gan with a Danville Per­for­mance 65mm Stage 2 tur­bocharger and Pusher In­takes Su­per Max in­take sys­tem with a 3-inch charge tube and Y-bridge assem­bly. Ex­ergy Per­for­mance Sports­man in­jec­tors, ported fuel-rail fit­tings, and a high-per­for­mance Sports­man CP3 in­jec­tion pump pro­vide the air/fuel mix while the ce­ramic-coated, 4-inch high-flow ex­haust downpipe dumps spent gases. Keep­ing en­gine tem­per­a­ture in the green is the job of a Grif­fin alu­minum ra­di­a­tor equipped with dual elec­tric fans.’s ECM tun­ing re­sulted in a stout 525 hp. No Zone Diesel re­worked the Al­li­son au­to­matic trans­mis­sion with a Go­erend Trans­mis­sion bil­let triple-disc torque con­verter and a heavy-duty NP263-XHD elec­tric-shift trans­fer case, a com­bi­na­tion strong enough to han­dle 750 hp—so there’s room for fu­ture mods.

To en­sure the Hummer stands out from the crowd, XHP per­formed a se­ries of ex­ter­nal mod­i­fi­ca­tions that in­cluded adding LED head­lights, tail­lights, a roof-mounted light­bar, and power/heated H1 mir­rors, as well as an XHP-built front bumper and brush­guard to hold a Warn In­dus­tries 16,000-pound winch. Since the truck is al­ready a beast, the syn­thetic cable and Fac­tor 55 Pre­ci­sion En­gi­neer­ing winch ac­ces­sories will prob­a­bly see more use help­ing oth­ers out of dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions! Mov­ing to the rear, the bed­side pan­els are fit­ted with ad­di­tional alu­minum brac­ing to add rigid­ity, and the in­side is sprayed with U-POL Prod­ucts’ Rap­tor spray-on lin­ing. The Preda­tor bed rack is a func­tional ad­di­tion.

XHP col­lab­o­rated with Street Metal Con­cepts in San­ford, Florida, on the ex­te­rior and in­te­rior. The shop’s sheetmetal and paint ex­perts added a cus­tom alu­minum hood scoop and CNC-ma­chined lo­gos and then prepped the truck for paint. The H1’s alu­minum body does not lend it­self eas­ily to high-end fit and fin­ish, so ex­tra ef­fort is re­quired

at ev­ery level. In fact, each of the hun­dreds of riv­ets in the body were soda-blasted to en­sure per­fectly smooth pan­els, then the hood was re­shaped with edge ex­ten­sions us­ing fiber­glass resin to en­sure tight cut lines. The steel doors were stripped to bare metal and worked over un­til they were bet­ter than new. Once the alu­minum pan­els were me­dia-blasted, the en­tire truck was sprayed with PPG epoxy paint, fol­lowed by cat­alyzed flex­i­ble seam sealer in or­der to cre­ate a sur­face usu­ally found on high-priced ex­otics.

The fi­nal color is a cus­tom mix of ’60s Jaguar Bri­tish Rac­ing Green and Brook­lands Green with ad­di­tional black toner, fol­lowed by mul­ti­ple ure­thane clearcoats. The SMC team then moved in­side, scrap­ping most of the orig­i­nal in­te­rior and em­ploy­ing CAD mod­el­ing tech­niques along with CNC lasers to cre­ate the el­e­gant cabin ap­point­ments.

The re­designed dash fea­tures cus­tom vent hous­ings for the Vin­tage Air air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tem us­ing hand-fab­ri­cated plenums. The dis­tinc­tive seats fea­ture CNC-ma­chined high-den­sity poly­eth­yl­ene seat­backs. The seats, dash, and Momo flat-bot­tom steer­ing wheel are up­hol­stered in Moroc­can Muted Or­ange and Dark

Char­coal vinyl, stitched by Avant-Garde De­sign in Palm City, Florida. The H1’s high-tech elec­tronic pack­age be­gins with a ride con­troller Blue­tooth sys­tem that con­trols all the ac­ces­sories as well as the au­dio and video.

For the ul­ti­mate ap­proach to safety, there are four cam­eras on­board that look for­ward, back­ward, and, when the blinker is ac­ti­vated, to ei­ther side. Im­ages are dis­played on a pair of LCD screens in the cen­ter con­sole. The iPad-con­trolled stereo fea­tures two JL Au­dio Ma­rine Se­ries am­pli­fiers, eight 6.5-inch com­po­nent sets, and a pair of 10-inch subs, all housed in CNC-cut, high-den­sity poly­eth­yl­ene en­clo­sures.

In­side, out­side, and un­der the hood, the year­long ef­fort trans­formed the truck into a rolling work of au­to­mo­tive art, per­fectly suited to take its place among the high-end and off-road ve­hi­cles in Chas’ col­lec­tion.

The tilt-for­ward hood gives easy ac­cess to the 6.6L Du­ra­max LBZ V-8 en­gine, up­graded with a long list of af­ter­mar­ket ad­di­tions and pro­duc­ing 525 hp.

The 22-inch Spe­cial Forces rims from Amer­i­can Force are wrapped in 37x13.50R22 Toyo Open Coun­try Mud Ter­rain tires, pro­vid­ing the per­fect bal­ance be­tween looks and trac­tion.

Vis­i­ble with the hood in the tilt-for­ward po­si­tion, King Off-Road Rac­ing Shocks re­mote-reser­voir shocks dampen all four wheels.

Fit­ted with a con­vert­ible top and cus­tom bed with a Preda­tor bed rack, this burly bat­tle­field ve­hi­cle was never de­signed for a high-end paintjob. Count­less hours of sand­ing and body prep re­sulted in a show-car fin­ish. Pro­tected with U-POL Prod­ucts’ Rap­tor spray-on bed­liner, the H1’s bed is equipped with a Preda­tor Search and Res­cue bed rack that fea­tures dual hy­draulic struts to sup­port the unit when load­ing and un­load­ing gear.

A huge up­grade from the Spar­tan orig­i­nal, this H1 is loaded with cus­tom de­tails. Two col­ors of durable vinyl catch your eye, ex­te­rior cam­eras feed the pair of cen­trally mounted LCD mon­i­tors, and the elab­o­rate 10-speaker stereo fills the cab with mu­sic.

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