Jack Auston likes 4PLAYN in Arizona's desert with his 1999 Hummer H1. His H1 trundles over obstacles with the poise of a vehicle that's not too tall, not too small. In fact, it's just right at a middling height. This Hummer is not necessarily a show vehicle, in that it's no trailer queen and some of its bumps and bruises are obvious. It's a truly use-it-or-lose-it enthusiast's vehicle. This H1 is painted black and blinks with a few chromed accoutrements, but those aren't the most compelling aspects of this vehicle. Neither is the diamond-plated interior. Nor the 395/85R20 Michelins wrapped around 20-inch Pro Comp wheels, although they bring us closer to the truth. You see, Jack's H1 has been lifted 13 inches from stock, thanks to the 5 inches granted by the larger tires, a 2-inch body lift, and (drum roll, please) a 6-inch suspension lift kit. Yeah, that's right, a 6-inch lift kit.

"Shenanigans!" an H1 off-roader might exclaim. "A kit like that doesn't exist for an H1...does it?" Yes. But you won't get it from any of the usual players in the suspension aftermarket because of the challenges of designing a solution that would turn a decent profit for a larger manufacturer. This leaves a niche ripe for hobbyists and inventors to exploit so that they can at least have something on their truck--even if it ain't too pretty--and maybe sell to friends, and friends of friends, and the occasional stranger who clued in via word of mouth or a random brochure. Jack's one of those guys who engineers for the fun of it, with the result being the 6-inch lift kit on his H1, and that we all can benefit from.

Jack lives in a quiet neighborhood in the suburbs of Phoenix. Peek into his two-car garage and you'll find a drill mill, drill press, plasma cutter, cold cut saw, welders, grinders, milling machine, air compressors, and hand tools...all of the usual array of toys for the automotive enthusiast, right? Not really, since Jack harbors a more specialized intent than that exhibited by the typical weekend warrior. His free time and tiny factory are all about cutting and shaping mild-grade 1/2- to 1/4-inch steel into the components for the 6-inch lift kit he made for his H1 and anyone else who wants one. He fabricates most of a kit himself, farming out the driveshaft, coil springs, shocks, brake line extensions, CTIS air line, emergency brake cables, and frame rail fuel tank. He can produce up to four kits in five weeks. We took some snaps of his H1 for your perusal. Check them out. And if you want to learn more about Jack's kit, give him a call at (602) 923-0013.