The CNN Warrior One: A Million Dollar Hummer?!

Feb. 01, 2007 By Manny MacMillan
Photographs by Ian Abbott, AZ

Who in their right mind would pay 1.25 million dollars for a pre-owned 1993 Hummer H1?

  That is how much a Hummer H1 recently fetched at the Barrett-Jackson auction.  That is $1,250,000.00, if you didn't catch it the first time.  Or, let's put it this way; $125,000 is a lot of money, and could fetch you last year's Hummer H1 Alpha, as a leftover on a dealership lot.  For 1.25 million, you could buy TEN of them.  What is so special about this truck?  Quite a bit, actually. 

The 1993 Hummer was purchased at a dealership, like most civilian Hummers.  This dealership happened to be in Kuwait, though, and the buyer wasn’t some random guy who wanted to impress his neighbors.  CNN wrote the check for this truck for use by journalists embedded with U.S. Marines.  The truck did its duty well, and got journalists in and out of some hairy situations, taking some fire along the way.  For 3 years it barreled around the Middle East, carrying and protecting CNN journalists each step of the way.  Does that make it worth over a million dollars?  Nope, not even close.


After returning to the United States, The Learning Channel's "OVERHAULIN’" swooped in during the summer of 2006 and gave the Hummer a 1-week makeover.  Chip Foose and his crew put in a new engine, a drastically upgraded interior, some custom features, a lot of body work.  They also gave it brand a new themed paintjob by some very talented airbrush artists.  Some Hummer off-road enthusiasts wince at the sight of the gas motor that was installed, but there is little question that the replacement of the tired 6.2 liter diesel motor was an upgrade for a collector car such as this one.  Does that make it worth over a million dollars?  Are you kidding?  In reality, this makeover improves the truck, but there is nothing over-the-top spectacular about it.  The truck didn't start successfully the day it was auctioned off in Arizona, and it even caught fire briefly when an overdose of starting fluid was used to try to make it turn over.  The fire was quickly extinguished, and the truck suffered no serious harm.  It was cleaned up and rolled out onto the stage where the bidding began. 

The reality is that the price tag that the Warrior One fetched at the Barrett-Jackson auction had little to do with the truck itself.  While it is spectacularly painted, most gear-heads in the Hummer world would value this truck somewhere closer to $40,000 or so, as long as the seller could actually get it running first.  The bidding war that started up over this truck in January of 2007 was more about the Fisher House Foundation and the generosity of two great Americans than anything else.  In fact, Dave Liniger won the truck with a bid of one million dollars even.  The other $250k was given by Dave Ressler, a losing bidder, as an outright donation.  The most special thing about this truck is its remarkable ability to be a catalyst.  The right mix of battle-tested duty and a hot rod makeover allowed this truck to bring 1.25 million dollars to the doorstep of an organization that provides housing for family members of the U.S. military who are suffering from diseases, illness or injury, so that they can stay near them during the most difficult of times.  Perhaps the attention that this purchase garners will inspire other great Americans to follow suit and donate money to the Fisher House or another worthy cause.

Does that make this truck worth over a million dollars?  You tell me. Newsletter
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