This story starts in 2008 back in the glory days when Hummer was still a powerhouse brand with a future so bright it was showing off concept cars at international motorshows. Well… we all know the story of Hummer’s sad demise but there was one man who just couldn’t turn away from the legacy of such a legend…
Franta Janes was at the Geneva Motor Show in 2008 where the HX concept was on proud display and the image of the angular lines and butch stance lingered on in his mind long after he’d returned home. But then in the dark wave of the financial crisis Hummer was swept away… along with any chance of the HX seeing production. But after years of enjoyable Hummer ownership and a background in engineering design an idea began to brew… one that eventually led to a lengthy and ambitious project to bring the HX to life himself… but with his own special take on the design. And so begins the story of the H2X.
Of course building a vehicle up from scratch is a huge undertaking but starting with his love of Hummers it wasn’t hard for Franta to decide to base his project on the chassis and running gear of a H2. And to appeal to as broad a client base as possible it was decided to make a ‘kit car’ with as many options available as possible. Thus, the Bureko H2X was born.
“I always liked the Hummer’s looks as well as their driving characteristics,” says Franta, “And I’ve spent many weeks in the desert with them so my idea was to base the design on the HX prototype but to make something as beastly and as striking as possible. That is why there are more sharper angles on the Bureko than on the HX and I think that I achieved what I wanted.”
To keep the project as simple and as cost effective as possible Franta’ own H2 was stripped down and the chassis, which are starting to get harder and harder to find now production has ceased, was cut from the lengthy original 3119mm to a much shorter 2630mm and then when time and funds permitted was slowly but surely fitted with carbon fibre body panels until it looked like what you see in the photos, instantly recognisable as a Hummer derivative yet with an incredible presence that will get every head to turn.
Because the H2X body is lower and thinner than the base H2 the standard GM interior wouldn’t fit, but this gave Franta a chance to further enhance the vehicle’s originality and if the rugged outside looks weren’t enough for you to appreciate the level of design and craftsmanship that has gone into this vehicle then the stunning interior will. Apart from the word Hummer embossed on the steering wheel and the instantly recognisable narrow and upright windscreen in front of you there is nothing inside that shouts out H2. And as you settle in behind the wheel you don’t think SUV because the striking orange and black seats and dashboard look like they’ve come out of a high-end sports car. Dual airbags, automatic air conditioning, multi-adjustable steering wheel, trip computer, cruise control and rain sensor are all installed and as options you can add sports seats, CCTV, CB radio, a safe and a compressor to inflate the tyres. But anybody used to the echoey vastness behind the driver in a H2 will be a little surprised in the H2X. It’s called a 4-seater but with the lack of space behind the front seats, it is for all intents and purposes just for two.
Driving performance is everything you would expect from a design attempting to continue the ethos of a company as serious about off-roading as Hummer. There’s no information about the Bureko’s approach, departure and break-over angles but being so much shorter and lighter than the huge H2 it was obviously going to be better off-road… and I wasn’t disappointed. The engine, like all big diesels, sounds lazy but throaty… and not too Hummerish… and neither is the ride. Over a ton lighter than the base model it is a different vehicle entirely and as the big tyres soak up all the holes and rocks it had the feel of a serious off-roader as it took all of the hills and drops at the brilliant Hummer Centre just outside of Prague (www.hummer.cz) in its stride. But this isn’t just a vehicle to bash about in the woods with. Along with its excellent off-roading abilities it’s also pretty special on-road too… not because of performance though, but because of the looks of utter disbelief that everyone greets it with. Hummer is a household name and one of the most recognisable vehicles on the road, the Bureko looks like a Hummer… but at the same time it’s not… and people love it. Heading through Prague behind the wheel for another photo shoot, the smile never left my face.
And now time for a few statistics: Under the bonnet the 6.0L Vortec engine puts out 242 kW and 495 Nm of torque through a 4-speed automatic gearbox to all for wheels with an electronically operated rear difflocker to keep you out of trouble while off-roading. A variety of different suspension set-ups are offered from hard road-based to what we’re all more interested in, off-road, with King, Fox or Procomp shocks available depending on what each customer specifies. And the torsion bars can also be upgraded for extra travel if off-roading is what it’s going to be mainly used for. Customers can also choose wheels between 17 to 20 inches and tyres from 35 to 37ins. The cars fitted for the test drive both had on Mickey Thompson Baja 35×12 ATZ, 50R17LTs. On tarmac the Bureko will get you from 0–100km/h in 10 seconds and the top speed is limited to 160km/h because of the speed rating of the tyres.
And the last question; Price. If you have your own H2 and are capable enough to strip it down, chop the chassis and then build it back up again with a Bureko body the kit will cost you between 22 and 36000 euros depending what extras you want. To bring your H2 to the garage to be Burekofied for you will be around 60 to 65,000
euros and to just go in and pick up a finished version will stand you at anywhere from 85 to 100,000 euros depending on the specification and extras.
And relatively they are not such big numbers. It’s quite hard to compare the Bureko with anything else but for the same level of interior as a top-end Range Rover for example, no one would look twice at a Range Rover… People stare open-mouthed at the H2X!