In the early 1990s, while Arnold was filming a movie, he saw the military Humvee vehicle near a military base. The vehicles were designed for military purposes only.
Schwarzenegger wanted one of the Humvees for himself, so he asked a friend who happened to own a body shop to get him one. The company making the Humvee refused to help him create one because it wasn’t street legal.
Arnold was persistent. The “Terminator” star flew to South Bend and met with company executives. After signing a waiver freeing the company of any liability, he finally got a sand-colored customized Humvee adjusted to make it street legal.
Schwarzenegger has said that he identified with the vehicles because they were “big, brash and boxy” and made no apologies for being that way. The former Mr. Olympia compared the vehicle to a well-toned body, pointing out the impressive “deltoids and calves”on his personalized Humvee.
Schwarzenegger was not satisfied with just owning his very own customized Humvee. The “Last Action Hero” star spent months persuading AM General to change the design and produce a civilian model. The company could not resist the Terminator for long and the first civilian-designed Hummer rolled off the assembly line in the fall of 1992. Schwarzenegger went to Indiana to purchase the first two fresh off the assembly line.
The “governator” saw the car as having qualities similar to those he had. Schwarzenegger has said that the felt the car symbolized “his freedom.” The “Predator” star was responsible for the vehicle’s raise to prominence. The “True Lies” star felt the car represented “strength and freedom” and helped to extend the brand’s reputation. At one time the Hummer was one of the most prestigious cars in the world thanks, in part, to Schwarzenegger.
Schwarzenegger would eventually go on to own a feet of Hummer cars valued at over $950,000. After General Motors purchased the Hummer brand in 1999, the “Total Recall” star convinced the company to donate millions of dollars to the star’s charity supporting after-school programs in poor communities across the United States.
In 2006, the “Junior” star gave up his beloved Hummer fleet for the sake of the environment. At the time he was governor of California and felt the car, which emitted three times as much carbon dioxide as standard cars, was not worth the trade off, stating that it was “not prudent” to keep the cars anymore.
It seems his battle has been lost when Hummer was closed in 2010. Even though he doesn’t drive a Hummer today, he’s changed the American car history and shaped it in a different way. For Arnold, the Hummer represented more than just a car, it was about strength, power and liberty.
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