As time will tell, that didn’t quite happen and in fact, the spun-off Hummer brand didn’t fare so well either. Nevertheless, these trucks tell a very interesting story which surely merits a revisit.
The Jurassic Truck Corporation was the result of a partnership between Texans Tim Barton and Steve Spencer, who saw the market for a less expensive and lightweight Hummer alternative.
Their answer was the T-REX, which Barton engineered and retailed in two steel-bodied kit forms—an unassembled vehicle for $16,500 and a rolling chassis for $27,900. Both featured tube-frame chassis and were designed to accept a wide range of Chevrolet V8s and transmissions, which were not included in the kits.
At the time, brand new AM General Hummers were priced from around $70,000 to $86,500, which made the T-REX an incredible bargain by comparison. A contemporary Chicago Tribune article also notes that the T-REXes weighed 2,000 pounds less and were much quicker and nimbler to drive. In 1999, Barton told the paper “If we get to 800 or 1,000 sales a year—and we can reach that—we’ll pass the Hummer.”
While that might have been a bold prediction, it appears Jurassic Trucks did have the capability to produce that many kits. The outfit noted its potential to produce a max capacity of 150 per month within a 20,000 foot warehouse.
According to a note in Mad Mechanics, 115 T-REX trucks were produced in full of varying types, including fire trucks and parade vehicles‚ but internal conflicts eventually shuttered the company.
This vehicle, a 2001 Jurassic Truck T-REX, features a 6.0-liter GM V8 and four-speed automatic transmission, which powers a two-speed 4×4 transfer case and massive 35-inch Mickey Thompson tires. Inside the condition looks remarkably good for a kit vehicle…and it’s not like the Hummer was some lavishly appointed runabout to begin with.
According to auction results, the tough T-Rex crossed the Mecum auction block earlier this year in Kansas City, but couldn’t find a buyer at $27,500. Now it currently resides on eBay.