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Arnold wants a Humvee.

Arnold Wants a Humvee

For the record, Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted a Humvee even before the made-in-Indiana military vehicle became a war hero. Now, the Hollywood hero has even more reason to want to be seen in the driver's seat.

Known in Indiana as a Hummer, the Humvee nickname is actually an attempt to verbalize the vehicle's military moniker: High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. The Humvee is made in Mishawaka by AM General.

Since 1984, the Humvee has been to the military what the Jeep used to be, and then some. It can carry troops into battle or retrieve wounded soldiers. It can carry cargo or air defense systems. It can be fitted with machine guns and antitank weaponry. It's no wonder the star of such adventures as "The Terminator" would feel at home behind the wheel of a Humvee.

Schwarzenegger visited the Mishawaka plant last fall. He asked if he could buy a Humvee, presumably so he could don his tuxedo and make an impressive arrival at Spago's, the trendy eatery in Los Angeles. He also wanted to use a Humvee in an upcoming film.

But it's not as simple as signing on the dotted line. For one thing, Humvees simply aren't sold commercially, although AM General has considered it. What's more, Schwarzenegger wants a hatchback, and the Humvee hatchback comes with a machine-gun turret on top. That's fine for the streets of Kuwait City, but AM General doesn't want such threatening vehicles on U.S. highways. Another snag is the engine: Humvees run on diesel, but Schwarzenegger wants a gasoline engine. And, needless to say, the standard Humvee doesn't have the stereo and leather seats that Schwarzenegger wants.

Though the company has no plans to get into the custom Humvee conversion business, it may agree to a deal with the "Raw Deal" star. The details are still being worked out.

The brawny actor now has all the more reason to be impressed with the vehicle. Thousands of Humvees recently proved themselves in the Persian Gulf. During the military buildup, a Humvee's hood served as President Bush's Thanksgiving dinner table during a visit to the region. A Humvee carried Bob Hope when he arrived to entertain troops.

When the fighting began, the Humvee generated more war stories. In the well-publicized battle for Khafji in Saudi Arabia, soldiers in Humvees equipped with antitank missiles destroyed four Iraqi tanks. Several Marines escaped Khafji in a Humvee with all four tires shot out, riding on the magnesium wheels that are mounted between the tires and the aluminum rims.

Two other Marines avoided serious injury when their Humvee absorbed the brunt of an Iraqi mortar round. They were able to climb out of the vehicle before the missiles they were carrying exploded and destroyed their Humvee.

In all, some 20,000 Humvees were sent to patrol the sands of the Persian Gulf region, and they performed beyond expectations, according to company officials. Even one that was stopped in its tracks generated an unusual war story. A Humvee became stuck in the mud and was approached by an Iraqi tank and personnel carrier. The Iraqis stopped and helped dislodge the mired Humvee. Then the Iraqis surrendered.

PHOTO : Schwarzenegger feels the Indiana-made military vehicle fits his style. The ultimate Hollywood arrival?
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Arnold Schwarzenegger; High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Apr 1, 1991
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