If you've ever wondered why the front ends of Jeep and Hummer trucks and SUVs sport similar seven-slot grilles, it's because both brands trace their family tree back to the long-defunct American Motors Corporation.
In the 1970s, AMC owned Jeep but spun off its military-vehicle line into what would become AM General, before AMC and Jeep were bought by Chrysler. AM General became the company responsible for the Hummer brand, and was eventually bought by GM to make civilian versions of its trucks and SUVs, just like Jeep made. Throughout that period, AM General hung on to the seven-slot grille. Chrysler tried to sue GM over the grille design, but a court decision settled the dispute in GM's favor, paving the way for these off-pavement trucks to keep their distantly related looks.
We've just tested the AEV kit version of the rugged Jeep J8 pickup, and came away suitably impressed by its capability. We were also amazed by its steep price: $50,000 nets you a bare-bones military-spec truck that's a direct descendant of the famous Willys Jeep. It still has a solid front axle. The J8 rolling chassis is pre-wired to receive a four-cylinder diesel or Hemi V-8 gas engine, but there's no factory warranty when you drive away.
On the other hand, we've also tested the new Hummer H3T pickup, which features the latest in off-road technology, like front and rear electronic locking differentials, GPS and full-time four-wheel drive. It has an independent front suspension and a choice of 3.5-liter five-cylinder or 5.3-liter V-8 gas engines, for a price of about $40,000, including a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
So, the question is, which seven-slot truck would you buy? The old-school AEV J8 MILSPEC, or a new-fangled Hummer H3T pickup?