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Mil-Spec 003 First Drive Review

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Mil-Spec 003 First Drive Review

We’re in one thing of a golden age for automotive restomodding, and right into a heady combine that features Singer’s reimagined 911s, Icon’s fancy off-roaders, and plenty of up to date Land Rovers. The newest firm with ambitions to grow to be a prime-tier customized car model is Mil-Spec, which goals to do what the aforementioned corporations do, however with the large, brash, blunt Hummer H1. And particularly, the corporate is aiming to make its Hummers a compelling various to a used Hummer H1 Alpha. The Alpha is usually thought-about to be the best of the breed with probably the most highly effective diesel engine provided, bigger brakes, and a nicer interior in contrast with its predecessors. To seek out out whether or not the corporate’s early efforts stay as much as that ambition, Mil-Spec invited us to drive their third accomplished vehicle, Mil-Spec 003.

It began life as a 1995 Hummer H1, and as with all of Mil-Spec’s automobiles, it was utterly disassembled, and the physique and body media-blasted right down to metallic. The body and associated elements are then powder-coated with a black gloss end. The truck’s aluminum physique, on this case a 4-door hardtop pickup variant, however is coated in a resilient bedliner-like materials designed for straightforward care. Bits of Kevlar are combined in with the fabric for power, and it may be tinted totally different colours and have rougher or finer textures.

Beneath the physique, one of many 5 totally different engines that have been out there on the H1, often a diesel V8, is changed with a 6.6-liter Duramax LBZ turbodiesel V8. This engine was obtainable on heavy obligation Chevy and GMC pickup trucks, and a associated engine was used within the Hummer H1 Alpha. Whereas the engine within the H1 Alpha made 300 horsepower and 520 pound-ft of torque mated to a 5-velocity automated, the Mil-Spec’s LBZ has had turbo upgrades and a special ECU tune permitting it to supply 500 horsepower and 1,000 pound-ft of torque. It is also coupled to an Allison one thousand 6-velocity automated transmission.

2018 Mil-Spec 003

The mechanical upgrades do not cease with the engine and transmission. The inboard brakes are given drilled and vented discs, and an ARB Air Locker locking rear differential fitted. Twin auxiliary transmission coolers additionally make an look and might be switched on as wanted. The 003 acquired 20-inch wheels with 38-inch mud terrain tires, however bigger tires could be added if desired. These wheels and tires aren’t suitable with the Hummer’s unique central tire inflation system, which allowed drivers to deflate and inflate tires on the flip of a change, however was additionally recognized to be unreliable. As such, the system was eliminated, however the air compressor for the locking rear differential can be utilized to reinflate tires on the valve stem, so altering air strain within the subject continues to be potential. On the 003, these tires are additionally coated by bulging bolt-on fender flares that add 7 inches of width to make the truck over 7 and a half ft extensive. A customized snorkel was additionally added for deep-water fording.

The interior will get a radical transformation, too. Each interior floor is roofed in a marine-grade leather-based that is weatherproof and features high quality accent stitching. The dashboard is vastly simplified in contrast with the cluttered, plasticky manufacturing unit job. Basic customized gauges sit forward of a small steering wheel, and in line with the waterproof theme, the SUV has a marine-grade stereo. Mil-Spec additionally stuffed the interior with a great deal of sound and warmth insulation, in addition to two upgraded air con models, one up entrance and one within the again.

That is a particularly lengthy record of spectacular sounding work, however how is it as a package deal? The powertrain might be probably the most shocking and pleasant a part of the truck. The turbodiesel delivers easy acceleration that seems like magic contemplating this factor weights over 7,000 kilos. Mil-Spec says it will possibly do zero-60 mph in 5.5 seconds, and whereas we weren’t capable of time it ourselves, it positive felt prefer it was inside the realm of risk. The throttle is responsive, too, little or no lag, and the transmission is tremendous clean. Having the six gears actually helps benefit from the torque, making it enjoyable to hustle this mammoth from mild to mild. Fortunately, its brakes are enough, stopping the Mil-Spec like a regular truck.

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The acceleration is not the one factor that feels easy. The entire car is as straightforward to drive as any full-size pickup truck. Steering is mild and straightforward to make use of, and its truly fairly exact and tells you a superb bit about what the tires are as much as. As a result, you’ll be able to confidently dial in steering angle and information it alongside regular metropolis streets with scarcely a second thought. Tighter neighborhood streets might offer you pause, contemplating the truck’s width, however you sit on the very fringe of the left aspect, and the nook of the proper aspect could be very straightforward to see because of the Mil-Spec’s form, so it isn’t too dangerous even when it is being squeezed. The stiff suspension jars a bit, however extra importantly it permits you to carry a little bit of velocity by means of corners.

Mil-Spec’s insulated interior does an admirable job holding the cabin quiet. The one actual noise intrusions are some occasional rattles from the physique, wind noise (as a result of this is likely one of the least aerodynamic automobiles in historical past), and the mud-terrain tires. All you hear from the powertrain is nice turbo whistle and a few V8 rumble. And as we talked about, Mil-Spec did a really good job redesigning the interior, and particularly in placing it collectively. The upholstery feels nice, and the stitching is excessive-high quality: uniform and laser-straight. The audio system particularly is properly built-in on a shelf behind the rear seats. And every part is pretty easy and practical-wanting, which inserts the spare, purposeful picture of the Hummer H1.

In addition to merely being a nicely-executed machine, the Mil-Spec 003 additionally has critical presence, like an unique sports activities car. It is simply as unmissable, with large tires, Etch-A-Sketch styling, and condo constructing size. It helps that this factor has actual off-street cred, since it is the H1, not the glitzy showboat H2. And with metro Detroit in all probability the most important purchaser of V8 Mopars, no one is just too nervous about it being a fuel guzzler. In fact, the temper of your onlookers might differ if, say, you are driving via downtown San Francisco.

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Nearly as good as the general package deal is, what the Mil-Spec does not really feel like is among the nice machines from Singer or Icon. It does not have that additional little bit of artistry – a uniqueness that takes a type of customized automobiles from merely being a custom-made 911 or FJ40 into being one thing really particular.

That is partly as a result of the 003 and Mil-Spec’s different off-street automobiles principally resort to bolt-on elements that do not look or really feel particular to the corporate. They’re the identical sorts of off-the-shelf bits we have seen on oodles of Jeeps and pickups at SEMA the previous few years: bolt-on flares, off-the-shelf wheels, LED lights and tubular sport bars and tire racks. The interior suffers the identical concern. The air vents are from a Ford Tremendous Obligation, the switches for the local weather management are plasticky auxiliary gear toggle switches with sticker labels, the gauges are common spherical examples with customized faces and the top unit is an off-the-shelf marine unit. There’s additionally no purpose you could not take your Hummer H1 to a trusted restorer or customized car shop and ask them to carry out a lot of the mechanical upgrades to it.

However even when it does not really feel fairly as distinctive and particular as one thing from Singer or Icon, it has a saving grace. Inventory Hummer H1 Alphas, the model Mil-Spec is benchmarking, go for between $one hundred fifty,000 and $220,000. That makes the Mil-spec, with its restored body, method nicer interior, far more highly effective engine and plenty of add-ons that add up, appear to be a very good worth at $239,000. As such, it is all proper that the Mil-Spec is not the distinctive reimagining of its base that Singers and Icons are, as a result of what the corporate is basically doing, advertising hype apart, is creating the best Hummer H1s round at an inexpensive price.

– Mil-Spec 003 First Drive Review –

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