Humvees Sell for up to $42K in First Public Auction of Military Truck

Humvee-Auction-600x400It was a military bake sale of sorts. For the first time in history, the U.S. military auctioned off some of its surplus Humvees to the public.

And truck-lovers responded in kind, paying as much as $41,000 for the iconic military vehicle that entered service in the mid-1980s, spawned a commercial version called the Hummer in the 1990s and was replaced in the 2000s by bigger, more blast-resistant trucks known as MRAPs during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In all, the online auction house IronPlanet Inc. on Wednesday auctioned 25 of the vehicles on behalf of the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency, netting a total of $744,000. Bidding started at $10,000 and escalated quickly, indicating a high level of interest from buyers for the light-duty utility trucks, even though they can’t be driven on roads and can only be used for off-road purposes.

The lowest winning bid was $21,500 for a 1989 AM General M1038 Humvee HMMWV, while the highest bid was $41,000 for a 1994 AM General M998A1 Humvee HMMWV, according to the website. The acronym stands for High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, pronounced “Humvee.” The average successful bid was about $30,000.

The auctioned Humvees, made by AM General LLC, had long been retired by the Army. In fact, they were sitting, gathering dust on a lot at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, according to an Army Times report.

The DLA has about 4,000 of the surplus vehicles, which have some sort of defect, the publication reported. Whichever ones aren’t transferred to local law enforcement agencies will be offered to IronPlanet for public auction, it reported, despite lingering controversy over the militarization of police departments across the country. The trend was highlighted earlier this year by the tactical response to protests following the shooting of an unarmed teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

On its website, the manufacturer notes that it doesn’t sell Humvees — or parts — to the general public.

“The Humvee was designed for a military mission and was not designed to meet civilian safety standards,” it states. “AM General does not endorse nor support the sale of these military vehicles to the general public or private entities. AM General further opposes any use of these military vehicles by individuals or entities outside of the military context for which the vehicles are designed. AM General does not sell the military vehicle or service parts for the military vehicle to the general public.”

The company has built almost 300,000 Humvees for the U.S. military and its allies. The civilian version reportedly came about after Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger saw a convoy of the vehicles while he was filming a movie and approached company officials about building a version that he could drive around. General Motors later bought the brand and build the vehicles until 2010.

While AM General no longer makes Humvees for the U.S. Army or Marine Corps, the vehicles still roll off its production line in South Bend, Indiana, for such customers as the Army National Guard and international clients including the government of Iraq.

The Humvee’s vulnerability to roadside bombs was exposed during the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2004, in response to questions from troops who said they were adding scrap metal to vehicles to better protect themselves from so-called improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously said, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

The Pentagon ended up adding more armor to Humvees, but, under a rapid-acquisition effort headed by Rumsfeld’s successor, Robert Gates, spent far more money – close to $50 billion – buying a fleet of about 25,000 Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, to better protect troops outside the wire. Humvees were relegated to transporting troops within well-fortified bases.

The Army last week officially began the next round of competition to build a replacement to the iconic Humvee. The service released a request for proposals, or RfP, from companies that want to manufacture production models of the so-called Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, designed to replace about a third of the Humvee fleet.

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • Woody

    The Hum-V should be sold to the US citizens, afterall Obammy isn’t out of office just yet…

    • NMI

      Obammy? WTF.

  • MacK

    30 THOUSAND Dollars! LOLZ man, DMRO is laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Christopher

    40k for lightly armored jeep and it’s not road legal. The buyers must be people with money to waste.

    The insides are usually pretty banged up, those aren’t fixed with normal maintenance. HMMWV’s are notorious for crap just going wrong out of the blue. Wheel hubs, generators, etc, just seem to fail whenever they feel like it. Now wonder the Army wants to replace these damn things.

    Gotta remember that these things are driven buy young guys that have next to no responsibility for the equipment. A lot of times damage is just written off as “training damage”.
    It’s rare to find one with high mileage, unless it is one that came from one of the CTC’s (combat training centers: JRTC, NTC, CTMC (Germany)) Put it to you this way, you qualify for a drivers badge if you can put 3k miles on one during your “tour” with that unit (could be a year, could be 4 years).

    • Pat

      There are plenty of places out west where they can be used off road (ranches, etc.)

    • blight_weroasdfl

      Debating the legalities required to turn one into a street legal vehicle. Asides from installing hardware and such, something like this?
      https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/forms-documents/

      “This declaration must accompany the application to title your reconstructed or specially assembled vehicle. Original titles, manufacturer’s
      certificates of origin and/or receipts for all major parts used in the reconstruction must accompany this declaration. Please refer to the Guide for
      Reconstructed Vehicles for minimum proof of ownership requirements.”

  • LPF

    “The Humvee was designed for a military mission and was not designed to meet civilian safety standards” ????

    So are they saying that they sold vehicles that are unsafe to use to soldiers?

    • Vaporhead

      They are not unsafe. The one’s I drove in the service did not have side or rear view mirrors, nor license plate lights, which make it not DOT approved.

      • JohnQ

        can they reasonably be modified to make them street legal?

        • blight_weroasdfl

          Probably, as civilian-approved variants (the H1) were made at some point. I imagine it would take quite a bit of effort to do so. I am unsure of the required paperwork though, and that would require traveling down to your state Department of Vehicle Services/Department of Motor Vehicles and having that conversation.

  • Dbb

    They were sold with no titles.

  • TheIntelligenceNews

    @LPF – This just means that they don’t have things like airbags and also don’t meet crash-test standards. That’s not what they were made for….

    • Vaporhead

      Wrong. There is no law saying that older vehicles have to be upgrade to have airbags. There also is no law stating a vehicle has to meet a certain “crash test” standard.

    • LPF

      tbf in a crash between a Humvee and any current road car, I’d rather be in a Humvee. OK it may not be able to survive an IED but pretty sure it would defeat a VW Golf

  • David

    Another vehicle destined for the middle east like the plumbers truck

  • Will

    Can we stop bringing up Ferguson? The evidence has long since proved that the shooting was justified. Secondly, the armored vehicles came in real handy when they started burning down their city.

    • B Downey

      Thanks Will. That comes up when people are talking about anything. The government must pay people to keep it on the front burner. They can’t stand for it to not be on the front page news or the 6 o’clock news on TV. It keeps people from thinking or talking about what a lousy crew we’ve got in the White House and Congress.

    • concerned citizen

      It appears that a dead man can tell no tales about what happened. They have shown that in Florida and Missouri, so does that mean they can kill anyone they think deserves it???

  • Joe

    Wait until they need a repair ot a new set of tires.Since they can’t use US roads or highways, you have to pay to transport them to where they can be repaired. Could turn out to be an expensive toy.

  • CPTCHUCK

    The Manufacture sold these vehicle to the public and have wonderful response, a grand total of 850 were sold and a price much cheaper than $42K. The vehicle is expensive to maintain and unless you have a full time drive to do the daily PMCS needed the vehicle will break down and do so at the least opportune time. Murphy’s Law corollary 906.

    • Vaporhead

      Don’t most break downs happen at the least opportune time regardless of the type of vehicle? I never knew a vehicle that stated: “I’m going to break down 1 mile from now.” :)

  • Michael

    Someone get me out of the ditch. You can’t use them on the road; so the local so called law enforcers are illegally driving them on those late night raids of innocent American citizens?

  • Brokendown88Z

    Were they sold with a complimentary 300 gallon fuel tank? because you’ll need one. The only vehicle I ever drove where you could see the fuel gauge needle moving nice and steady toward empty!

  • James Hunter

    “even though they can’t be driven on roads and can only be used for off-road purposes.” Now they tell me, I have driven them on freeways, highways and city streets. Why?

  • Les

    The word is paid not payed! Please how does a professional make this mistake?

  • Captain obvious

    People have been picking these up and converting them for on road use for years. This is nothing new, although they were previously harder to score. You had to know somebody 10 years ago. Certain states are much easier for titling and registering these. Think about the states with no inspections.

  • SSG11B3PCIB

    I have always been under the impression that since the HMMWV does not meet emmision standards through out the US, the US Military is exempt, that the HMMWV could not be sold to civilians. Additionally, when we used to go to DRMO @ Bragg in the 90’s, they cut up HMMWV frames with torches to make the vehicle sale worthy as scrap pursuant to federal law. What has changed here?

  • Truck Caveman

    The Humvee, like the Ford pickup truck, is equipped with the International (IHC) eight cylinder T-444e, which is a parent bore throw away engine. A better choice would be the DT-466e in line 6 cylinder wet sleeved engine, which can be rebuilt “in-frame” much cheaper and quicker. A “works kit” can be obtained for about $1,800.00 at the national fleet rate, a very good deal considering. (A rebuild kit for a V8 car engine typically costs more.)

  • Glockster20

    I noticce they always show the up armored version. I highly doubt that these are the ones being sold.

  • troublesh00ter

    A big plus with these is that they were built out the door to run on almost any fuel a soldier might have access to. Gas, Diesel, “2 fuel oil, kerosene , propane, maybe even jet AA.

    • MSGDLD

      Really? Where do you get that from? The old M35’s had an injection pump with a fuel density compensator, so they could theoretically use gas diesel or jet fuel, but the reality was that it didn’t work well.

      I’ve never heard of a HMMWV running on any thing but diesel. I’ve had a few quit when filled with Mogas.

      After the jeep (M151) was replaced by the M998, the Army worked diligently to convert ground equipment to diesel, for a one fuel system.

  • Will

    I personally wouldn’t give more than a couple grand for a good running M998, but I’m not a doomsday prepper or an avid hunter. They’re very dependable go anywhere trucks as long as you have some respect for it and don’t drive it like an 18 year old private who just got his military license.

  • jake

    Why is that a police department pays 3,000 for the new MRAPs, yet citizens are bent over for an aged HMMWV ?

  • desert

    I saw a smaller civilian version of the humvee in a walmart parking lot Sunday, nice looking rig about the size of a recent Jeep….want one! lol

  • UAVGeek

    These are perfect for use in closed sites like oil refineries, the average road speed is low, and sometimes a limited off road capability is needed.