The Hummer is no longer with us. Some liked it, some didn’t. Either way it filled a certain niche in the market. Actually it was more of a auditorium that a niche. An in the automotive world no auditorium goes unfilled for long.
The original Hummer was based on the US military Humvee, the later variants were based on other GM SUVs, apparently to be more practical. Yeah, I had to laugh at that one, too. However, it was a recipe that other manufactures (at least the other ones who were also looking to go bust) just had to follow.
Fiat stepped up to the plate. They already had a military vehicle in their inventory, the Iveco Lince (or Lynx in english). This vehicle has been selected and used by armies in several different countries. The British Army, for example, selected it as their “Future Command and Liaison Vehicle.” I’m not quite sure how “commanding” and “liaising” go together, but you know those Brits and their strange sense of humor.
The Lynx is a serious looking vehicle, especially when equipped with that gun on the roof. You could do no end of “liaising” with that.
No a bad place to start, then, if you’re looking to out-hummer Hummer. So where did it all go wrong?
In 2005 at the Bologna Motor Show, based on the Lynx, Fiat turned up with the monstrosity below, the Oltre.
Holy mother of bling. This defies serious criticism, not that I make any claim in that direction myself, but I challenge anyone to say something positive about this vehicle. These guys took a proper off-roader, something that could cover jungles, deserts, snow, and mounted it on giant chrome rims with a smear of rubber. Textbook stuff for going off-road – not.
The shock treatment carried on inside the vehicle as well.
In Fiat’s blurb they claimed the Oltre had
Generous dimensions, an exuberant style and a clean profile with recessed handles that do not constitute an obstacle when driving off-road, are the concept design behind Oltre Fiat.
- Generous dimensions? Can’t deny that, it’s 7′ 6″ wide and weighs 7 tons, sounds pretty generous to me.
- Exuberant style? Yep, it’s so exuberant you have to wear shades, or at least squint, to look at it.
- A clean profile? Well, it was certainly well washed when it turned up at the show, so lets give them that so its not all negative.
- Recessed handles that do not constitute an obstacle when driving off-road? What? Are they serious? This was a selling point on something that weighs seven tons? It has things that stick out in ever direction. If you could drive this through a forrest you’d rip up everything that wasn’t at least fifty years old, well you would if it would go through a forrest, but it wouldn’t because it rides on things that would be challenged by grass clippings, let alone hills, slopes, mud, or any of the other tricky things you meet off-road. So, as a buying tip, don’t get swayed by the recessed door handles when buying a seven ton off-roader.
You might think it was built for show, charging up and down freeways, much like the H2, but the Oltre was powered by 185 bhp 3 litre 4 cylinder engine. Seven tons … 185 bhp … you can get 500’s with that kind of horsepower! You’re not going to show off much with that, and I suspect the picture below might have been made with the creative used of camera panning.
Despite the awfulness of this creation, men everywhere will be able to forgive Fiat for one singular reason. It appears to be able to carry the entire Italian Championship Miniskirt Display team at one time.
Ok, Fiat, all is forgiven.