For many reasons, I’m dying of laughter while I’m writing this piece. Many. But let’s start with the reasons why you might not want a HMMWV. They’re huge. They’re ploddingly slow. They sound like most GM 6.2/6.5 diesels do, and they stink like they do too. The room inside is odd…the passenger compartments are cramped yet there’s a center section big enough for even a fairly husky man to sleep comfortably, and they drink fuel so well that OPEC will probably send you a turkey for your Thanksgiving meal this year. I’ve made no bones about it: they are a badass off-roading package, one of the best for that task, but everything else about a standard HMMWV is a pain in my ass. I’ll love one with a Duramax/Allison swap, but until then, no thank you.
Okay, you want smaller? How about the M1161 Growler? This is one of the newer vehicles that came out after I got out of the service. It was chosen by the Marine Corps as a vehicle that could be transported via V-22 Osprey and was meant for four humans and the gear they needed at that particular moment. A 2.8L Navistar turbo-four diesel provides some power (132 horsepower, 230 ft/lbs of torque) and a 2,000 payload capacity. It even has four-wheel steering with an automatic centering system, so it’s maneuverable beyond your hopes. When new, the Marines were paying just over $200,000 per unit. Yikes. But this one is up for grabs for a relatively reasonable $30,000 (as of print time) with only a couple hundred miles on the clock.
Using an old military Jeep or M151 Mutt for daily work isn’t quite as feasible as it used to be. But this thing, regardless of it’s looks, can get the job done and should provide quite a bit of service life for whoever is interested. Just think of it as the most butch Jeep Wrangler four-door you’ve ever seen and it’ll start to make sense.
Oh…and in case you’re wondering about the laughter, a bit about the name, courtesy of TopGear: