Chassis number: 004307 SCM Condition for this vehicle: 3- The U.S. Department of Defense finally allowed whole vehicle sales of HMMWVs (High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, better known as Humvee) a few years ago. So one would think that supply and demand has at least attained parity — or the Humvee market is glutted. Yet these massive, sturdy surplus military vehicles continue to sell well. RM Sotheby’s Online Only: Driving Into Summer auction had one — this early M998 in canvas-top, crew-cab configuration. The biggest takeaway from the listing for this was essentially nothing for a vehicle description — which speaks volumes. Chapter One is the apparent lack of a title. DoD has only been selling Humvees through (a division of auction conglomerate Ritchie Bros.) with just an SF-97 document, which is a government bill of sale to prove that you didn’t steal it. You just don’t tootle your ex-military Humvee down to the DMV and get a title. If you’re in a state that will actually allow you to title one (several will not), the process is rather drawn out. As such, titled Humvees command a premium, especially if they’re from one of the established companies who’ve “been there, done that” and know all the pitfalls. Generally at least over $5,000 what it hammered for from seems to be as cheap as one can get away with — usually more.

Our subject Humvee

This brought what commensurate examples on GovPlanet do on their hammer, if not a few bids more. I also noticed a Desert Tan Humvee in the background of where the catalog images were taken, so I get the feeling that the consignor knows the dance — or learned by being burned. Anyone who knows anything about a Humvee will state that it has a title first and foremost when promoting its sale. If the seller doesn’t say the vehicle has a title, assume it doesn’t. Chapter Two is about early-production rigs. The first of the M998s got their go from the same normally aspirated 6.2-liter GM diesel engines found in Chevy and GMC pickups of the era. They’re crap. In a C-20, these engines are passable as a work truck. In a Humvee, they’re a rebuild waiting to happen. The later 6.5-liter turbo diesel is a better engine, for durability and power. When these rigs went through military depot refurbishment, they’d get the latest engine, so some early-production units may now have the 6.5-liter turbo diesel. Unless you’re looking to have a “numbers-matching” early M889 instead of a Fourth of July parade unit or ultimate off-roader, there is far less interest in a 6.2-liter engine unless they can be had cheaper — while mentally budgeting in an engine upgrade. If the high bidder did due diligence and knows his/her stuff, this sale was a decent deal with no harm done. The sale jumps up to well-bought status if there actually is a title. However, this rig was located in California — an anti-Humvee state — so don’t bet on it. Considering that our subject rig is about $4k to $8k less than an M998 with a title, this Humvee is probably a well-sold hot potato. I’d go so far as to say that the consignor is beyond giving a sigh of relief — but is still doing the Snoopy Happy Dance. However, I won’t be shocked if this Humvee makes the docket for the online-only equivalent of Monterey. With a title status declaration. — B. Mitchell Carlson ♦

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