The first-ever public auction of 25 legit, real-deal, US military Humvees is done, and a frenzy of bidders have set the precedent for the price of "a decent looking HMMWV with 5,000 t0 30,000 miles."
That price is about $30,000, or an average of $29,760 to be specific, for the first batch of AM General HVMWVW straight from Uncle Sam. Nothing had less than 50 bids on it, most went over a couple hundred.
Here's the complete list of sales, or just scroll down to the bottom if you don't feel like creating a GovPlanet login.
I know there's not a whole lot "to" these vehicles, and not being able to put license plates on them is a bit of a bother. And quite a few veterans commented on the original auction posting saying low-mileage examples could still be shitheaps. But $30,000 seems pretty reasonable for an off-road toy this extreme, when it's not hard for a SxS ATV to cash out around there and most civilian Hummers are still selling for much, much more.
Why does this matter?
It's a whole new used car market in the making! How often does the a group of first-owners simultaneously unload a uniquely desirable car? It's huge for vehicle collectors and truck people in general; just imagine the retrofit possibilities– hack one up, plop whatever you want on top, and create a super off-road-capable anything!
And make no mistake; a genuine military Humvee is a uniquely desirable car on its own even with the stipulation that "it can only be used off-road." (As a side note, I posit that "no license plate" rule will be overcome by some enterprising individuals... can't you register pretty much anything as a kit car?)
At roughly the same price point as a Polaris RZR, you could have your own military vehicle and be the coolest kind on the playground. And for some, the awesomeness of owning something as iconic as a HMMWV as their off-road toy will overshadow the colossal inconvenience of storing and towing something so gar-godam-gantuan.
Even the casual fan of trucks and military technology should at least spectate a government surplus auction. Even through the detachment of participating online, yesterday's sale was pretty exciting to watch. So much equipment selling so cheap!
What kind of shape did you say these $30,000 Hummers were in?
They're not freakin' Hummers, they're Humvees. That's what makes them special!
The 25 Humvees at yesterday's sale ranged in age from 1987 to 1994, were either olive green or khaki tan (some were a little bit of both) and featured a few different body configurations.
They all looked to be in reasonable condition aesthetically, though most were still wearing some Gulf sand. Listings were a lot more complete than I would have expected (they were better than most dealer auction sale pages I've seen). Hell, a few even had a metallurgical analysis of an oil sample.
As far as "running," most were described as "Cranked with a jumped battery but would not run." Maybe that's something as simple as a few parts missing, or maybe there's no compression in any cylinders. But generally when an engine's cranking, it's got potential. I've got to believe those 6.2 diesels are stout enough to come back from some nasty neglect.
The "pickup-style" two-doors with or without canvas tops seemed to be worth slightly less than full four-doors.
One of the most active sales (over 400 bids) was this unique "cargo-top" Humvee that looked closest to a "conventional SUV" of the lot. I must admit I had my eye on this one, and yes, even placed a bid. But the price soared past my casual offer and the truck sold for $29,500.
How would you get one of these things home?
Now the buyers of cargo-top truck and all 24 other Humvees will have three days to pay the good people running GovPlanet.com, and just eight days to pick up their prizes. Somewhere in between, they're going to have to explain their purpose for buying the trucks and presumably be vetted (for patriotism?)
While I didn't bring anything home from this show there were a few close calls; came up about $1,500 short on a ten-wheeled Cummins diesel five-ton truck with some kind of command center strapped to the back.
I learned later that a similar one had sold under my budget a few minutes before I logged in. Thank god I didn't see it or I'd be sweating the logistics of moving unlicenseable non-running military machinery across the country right now.
So when will I get my chance to buy one?
GovPlanet has won the contract to distribute these things for the next two years, so their site will be the one to watch. As of this writing, their next sale is January 7th, 2015. Only one Hummer's on the run list so far... but I have a feeling there will be plenty more chances to buy. A little more waiting and there might even be a good owner's forum in place.
Here are screenshots of the complete sale list:
If you've bought a Humvee through one of these auctions, are trying to, or have driven one in any capacity I'd love to hear about it!
Images via DVIDSHUB/Flickr, IronPlanet