Off-roading fans are in for one humdinger of a day. On Dec. 17, the first public auction of military HMMWVs will give civilians a chance to own a Humvee.

The online event -- the first since new rules were established to allow for private sales of the legendary 4x4s -- is being handled by IronPlanet through its GovPlanet.com marketplace, where it will be offering an initial batch of 25 HMMWVs from the 1980s and 1990s. Approximately 4,000 more trucks are under review and could be released for sale in the coming months. Government agencies get first dibs on the ex-military trucks before they're handed off to the auction house.

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is responsible for the disposal of the trucks, and it’ll take home 75.29 percent of the proceeds of the auction. The trucks were simply sent to the scrap heap in previous years.

Commonly known as Humvees, only four of the many models that have been developed for the military are eligible for sale -- the M998, M998A1, M1038 and M1038A1. All of the vehicles are either troop or cargo carriers, and have been fully demilitarized by the DLA, so no armor or mounts for arms are included, but buyers will still have to clear a trade security background check.

About 11,000 civilian-spec "Hummers" were sold between 1992 and 2006.

The vehicles aren’t street legal and are being sold for off road use only, but IronPlanet’s VP of operations, Randy Berry, says interest in the event has been higher than usual for a military surplus sale.

It is possible, however, to modify the trucks and get them titled for public road use in some states. A handful of Humvees made it into circulation years ago before restrictions on private sales were tightened up, and some of them are registered and on the road today.

About 11,000 civilian-spec "Hummers" were sold between 1992 and 2006 by AM General and General Motors. The vehicles were based on the military version, but fitted with everything needed to pass muster with the DOT. Fans of the brand that they spawned are excited about the chance to buy the real deal veteran machines.

“The Hummer and the HMMWV are iconic, and highly coveted by off-road enthusiasts. Like many military vehicles, they are very capable and designed for specific purposes,” says Dave Breggin, president of The Hummer Club. “The release of working HMMWVs is likely to stimulate interest in Hummers, and also increase third-party interest in offering parts and accessories for both vehicle types.”

Bids are already being accepted on the GovPlanet.com website, but the auction goes live at 10 a.m. EST on Wednesday, and the first hammer comes down at 3 p.m. The trucks are located on a military base in Utah, and it’s up to the winning bidders to pick them up. If all goes well, Berry expects more Hummers to be on the block as early as January.

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