Follow by Email

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Jurassic Truck T-REX: Don’t Call it a Hummer

BOLD RIDE

 
jurassic-truck-t-rex-front-1

If it looks like a Hummer, sounds like a Hummer, and drives like a Hummer…most times, it’s a Hummer. But in the case of this burly 4×4 vehicle, it recalls that storied military vehicle in appearance only. 
 
Meet the T-REX, a Hummer replica built in the late 1990s by a small outfit from Arlington, Texas, known as the Jurassic Truck Corporation. The company started with an investment of only $350,000 and according to period news articles, it intended for its T-REX trucks to rival AM General—the producer of the iconic HMMWV and its civilian-spec Hummer sibling.

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.

jurassic-truck-t-rex-rear-2

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.



jurassic-truck-t-rex-interior-3

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.