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The Hummer army





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You're famous, fabulously wealthy and governor of California. What do you drive? If you're Arnold Schwarzenegger, it's the Hummer, a General Motors product derived from the original Humvee military vehicle that saw action in the Gulf War. The Hummer, which comes in the huge H1 model or the smaller, trendier H2 developed a cult following when Schwarzenegger convinced then-manufacturer AM General to sell a consumer model back in 1992. In December 1999, AM General sold the rights to the Hummer brand to GM, which markets the H1 and the smaller H2, which is built off the bones of a Chevy Tahoe.

Schwarzenegger, who got a new H2 model for his birthday, calls the vehicle "an incredibly precise and forceful machine."

These days, Arnold sits high and mighty in his collection of eight of the rugged three-ton, 110-mile an hour supercars.

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Arnold's not the only celeb to pilot the behemoth. So far, about 11,000 of the street-legal Hummers have been sold, mostly to movie stars, pro athletes and millionaire ranchers for $90,000-plus. Two of professional sports' most outstanding and outspoken young sensations have owned Hummers -- Cleveland Cavaliers basketball phenom LeBron James and New York Giants star tight end Jeremy Shockey. Back when James was regarded as the nation's top high school basketball player, he found himself under investigation by Ohio athletic officials who questioned his amateur status when he started driving around in a new H2 equipped with three televisions. He later was cleared after his mother produced documents showing she bought the vehicle -- which has a base retail price of $50,000 -- for her son's 18th birthday.

Shockey says he enjoyed his Hummer while he had it, but traded it in on a Land Rover. Rap star Coolio also dumped his Hummer, saying he was fed up with the cost of running it. Coolio's diesel, with dual gas tanks -- a 25-gallon main tank and a 17-gallon backup -- was given to him by his record company in 1996. "It had two tanks, and it takes three to get to San Francisco (from Los Angeles). Over the years, that adds up," he says.

Other professional athletes driving Hummers include basketball's bad boy Dennis Rodman, boxing's worst boy, Mike Tyson, Patrick Ewing and Roger Clemens.

-- Posted: Dec. 9, 2003

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