Can you say “go-go Gadget legs?”
At some point, everyone who’s ever driven anything has been fed up with traffic. Perhaps that’s why this video of a Jeep stretching its legs to clear a congested street is both entertaining and strangely satisfying. Just imagine having the ground clearance of a monster truck without all the ingress/egress issues, never mind the tiny hands stigma that comes with such vehicles. Alas, surely this must be a clever camera trick, or the work of some Hollywood CGI wizard?
Actually, the Hum Rider (yes, that’s the actual name) is totally real. But before you go whipping out your chequebook for a deposit, know that you can’t buy one. Actually, you probably could if have money to burn, and possibly a slight mental disorder. But trust us when we say you wouldn’t want one.
The Hum Rider was created for Verizon as an advertising showpiece to promote Hum, an automotive module offered by the communications giant that plugs into the OBD port of most late-model cars. For a nominal monthly fee, Hum offers a variety of features like vehicle diagnostics, roadside assistance, stolen vehicle tracking, and our favourite - a speed monitor that lets you know when to slow down. There’s a mother-in-law joke in there somewhere, but we’re not going to touch it.
There are several reasons why you don’t want the Hum Rider. For starters, it weighs 8,500 pounds (3,856 kilograms); The Jeep’s original underpinnings are completely replaced by a custom-built hydraulic rig that both lifts the body and widens the stance. It’s all hydraulic, using more than 300 feet of high-pressure lines to control everything, including movement. Powering all the necessary pumps is a single Honda generator, mounted under the hood where the Jeep’s original engine once lived.
A series of cameras helps ensure the extended Hum Rider clears vehicles, which brings us to the most impractical aspect of this four-ton, Honda-powered Jeep. With barely enough clearance to past over a Ford Fiesta, the Hum Rider would be foiled by even modest pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles – AKA the machines which outnumber subcompacts on American roads by something like ninety bazillion to one.
Obviously we’re poking a little fun here. Verizon said this machine was created to be something of a literal metaphor for upgrading your vehicle with their Hum device. While this is certainly a cheesy concept, there’s no denying the work involved to make such a unique vehicle come to life. Well done, Hollywood.