Every year, thousands of people attempt to immigrate to the United States illegally. For some, the opportunities that are offered in this country are worth risking everything, including their lives. Standing between the American dream and their country of origin is without a doubt some of the most difficult and treacherous terrain in the world.
When a call is dispatched to respond to a life-threatening situation, the first responders are usually members of the U.S. Border Patrol's Search, Trauma, and Rescue (Borstar) Team. Responsible for saving thousands of lives every year along the southern border region of the U.S., the team's primary function is search, trauma, and rescue.
To assist in this role, each team is outfitted with the best life-saving equipment available, including custom-built '03 Hummer H1 K-10-series trucks. The diesel powerplant, drivetrain, and transmission all remain stock, while the undercarriage is fitted with extra-heavy-duty skidplates, extra-capacity oil and transmission coolers, a custom roof rack, and run-flat tire inserts. Numerous other components are also installed on the rigs, but they're too classified to mention.
Capable of turning the midnight sky into daylight are two 100-watt Code 3 spotlights, which can be directed to any location via a wireless remote-control unit. When not in use, the lights fold down at the touch of a button. Additional safety lighting is obtained via a Code 3 2100-series lightbar, which houses the latest in LED technology. A Whelen Arrowstick LED traffic bar is mounted in the rear, while waterproof red and blue strobe lights make their home on the front brushguard. Numerous strobe lights have also been installed into the factory tail- and corner-light locations.
The interior of each Borstar rig contains custom-fabricated racks, which house winch cables, rescue ropes, a fullsize helicopter litter, and numerous pieces of emergency medical equipment. Communication between each rig, other units, and headquarters is handled via the latest radios and transmitters to ensure that no contact is ever lost.
On-call 24 hours a day/7 days a week for 365 days a year, rest assured that if there is ever an emergency situation that arises along the southern border region, the U.S. Border Patrol's Borstar Team will be the first to arrive to save another human being, regardless of the individual's nationality, citizenship status, or any other factor.
To say that Lynn and Terry McClanahan are Hummer enthusiasts would be a severe understatement. As the owners of American Outfitters of La Mesa, California, the dynamic duo have made the Hummer their main source of business and in the process have become the most knowledgeable people about the vehicle one will ever meet.
While a good majority of us would be more than content to own just one of the world's ultimate vehicles, the McClanahans own many. Built to showcase talent and expertise, we're featuring two of the McClanahan's favorites. The first rig is their two-passenger '96 AM General Hummer Extra Cab, which has had a SnugTop camper shell with AM General doors integrated onto it. Used primarily for long-haul expeditions, this unit has been built to serve as the ultimate piece of camping equipment.
Perfectly content with the drivetrain and powertrain of the vehicle, Terry began the rig's customization by installing a BD engine brake power control module, which provides an increase of 40 hp and an additional 90 lb-ft of torque. A pyrometer and turbo boost gauges were also added. To aid the 6.5L turbodiesel with breathing duties while crossing rivers, a 27-inch aluminum air intake tube with an integrated precleaner air filter was installed. An American Outfitters hoodscoop also aides in keeping the engine at reasonable operating temperatures.
The factory dampers were replaced with Cepek adjustable shocks and the factory front springs with a pair of heavy-duty units to accommodate the 12,000-pound Warn winch. The stock wheels and tires were swapped out for a set of custom two-piece Hutchinson aluminum 17-inch units with bead locks. Wrapped around the rims are massive 37-inch Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires. For additional protection to the CTIS system, custom billet aluminum guards were placed on the wheels.
The underbody has had numerous panels and guards added to fend off any unwanted branches, boulders, or obstacles encountered while underway. Protecting each side of the rig are custom-fabricated steel rocker panels. Up front, a Garvin Industries HD brushguard with an integrated lightbar protects the fiberglass hood, while in the rear, an Off-Road America's steel bumper was modified by Terry for just the right look. The fullsize spare tire is mounted via a pivot system, which Terry manufactured.
Essential to any expedition-worthy rig, the Hummer was fit with a 30-gallon auxiliary fuel tank that resides in a custom-built enclosure on the right rear-passenger side of the vehicle. This addition makes it possible for the rig to travel nearly 1,000 miles between fill-ups. On the left side of the truck, a custom-built 37-gallon water tank was installed and is attached to a heat exchanger, which makes taking hot showers in the middle of nowhere a reality. Numerous custom-made expedition boxes have been installed both inside the cab and in the cargo area. Custom-fabricated shelves were installed in the space where the rear glass window once went. The 3-foot custom roof rack was built by Terry and serves as a platform for the numerous GPS and radio antennas, Hi-Lift jack, shovel, the 5-inch IPF HID 900-series driving and rear spotlights, slide-out shower enclosure rack, and the 5-foot Range Rover three-sided awning.
Military-grade blackout lights have been installed up front, while the remainder of the factory lighting system has been updated with the latest LED light technology.
Keeping communication flowing between the McClanahans and the rest of the world is the job of a Maxon VHF radio, a Lowrance 2000 GPS unit, a Lowrance Global Range 1600 system, and a CB unit. Refreshments are kept cool via the 35-gallon Fridge Freeze portable refrigerator/freezer unit. Supplying enough power to these systems are four Optima batteries, which have been installed in the cargo area. A Delphi wireless satellite-radio unit provides the tunes while underway. The HVAC system was also updated with the latest and greatest that AM General had to offer.
Like we said earlier, if there were to be an ultimate piece of camping equipment, this would surely be at the top of the list.
The prized jewel of the McClanahan's collection is their '92 four-passenger hard-top Limited Edition 6.2L naturally aspirated diesel, otherwise referred to as their cornerstone vehicle. Literally the last of the Limited Edition's to be made, serial number 1,000, this vehicle was part of the elite group of Hummers that were initially offered to the public for sale.
After paying for the rig in cash up front, then waiting more than a year to get their hands on it, Terry and Lynn went right to work customizing it for their lifestyle. Following a similar buildup as the other rig, the goal was to create an expeditionary vehicle with all the amenities of home. Since this vehicle was a limited edition, the upgrades to the drivetrain and other mechanical components were kept to a bare minimum. Aside from the factory-issued 2.56 Detroit differentials and heavy-duty front springs that accommodate the 12,000-pound Warn winch, the drivetrain has remained virtually stock. The two-piece 16-1/2-inch steel wheels were upgraded to run-flat capability.
Being the very first Hummer to ever receive a roof rack, Terry modified a Garvin Industries 6-foot-long rack fabricated of steel tubing by adding numerous weld-on tabs to make way for the 6-inch Warn off-road lights, the bevy of satellite antennas, and for miscellaneous tools, which include an ax and a Hi-Lift jack mounted using the Garvin brackets. Up front, a Wilderness Accessories heavy-duty brushguard makes the perfect platform for two additional 6-inch rectangular Warn off-road lights. The undercarriage and rocker panels are protected via steel panels.
A 27-inch snorkel was added to assist in wading duties across some of the finest rivers in the world. For additional range, a 37-gallon fuel tank was installed, complete with an electric fuel pump in a custom-built box that resides in the truck's bed. Two aluminum storage bins were placed atop the rear wheel fenders. A custom pivot-mounted fullsize spare-tire carrier completes the rear treatment to the Limited Edition.
Resembling more of an emergency command center than a vehicle, the interior of the rig is outfitted with some of the most state-of-the-art electronics on the market. Take for instance the Furuno Satellite Weather Fax System or the Mitsubishi Satellite Telephone System. The GPS system is an Eagle AccuTrail System, which provides step-by-step guidance to any destination on the planet. Under each of the two rear seats are storage boxes that house additional supplies and the satellite fax and phone systems. For everyday communication while on the trail, a Maxum VHF radio and Presidente HR2510 CB radio perform the tasks. Keeping the seats in their pristine condition are one of the very first pair of camouflage Wet Okole seat covers. Of course, the military-spec blackout lights keep things interesting, as does keeping track of the inventory of all the spare parts.
Rarely driven, one of this truck's most outstanding features is the underside of the original hood, which contains more than 900 autographs from virtually every AM General Hummer employee working at the plant at the time, including President Jim Armour. Oh, what a feeling it must be to own not only one Hummer, but two! We just keep saying to ourselves, "Some day."