This 1951 Willys M38 Jeep just sold at auction for a rather reasonable $38,500.
60 bhp, 134 cu. in. L-head inline four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission with two-speed transfer case and four-wheel drive, live front and rear axles with semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 80 in.
- Fully frame-off restoration of the Korean Conflict-era Jeep
- Numerous accessories, including an inert .50-caliber air-cooled machine gun and an inert .30 caliber water-cooled machine gun
- A fascinating addition to any military vehicle collection
In 1940, the United States Army Quartermaster Corps released a tender for “a general purpose personnel or cargo carrier.” The first respondent was perhaps the most unlikely manufacturer, the American Bantam Car Company, which had begun as a licensed builder of the Austin Seven. Eventually, Willys-Overland received the largest of the military contracts for this quarter-ton 4 × 4, which soon became beloved of American GIs for its versatility and reliability.
At war’s end, Willys developed a civilian model of what the servicemen affectionately called the “Jeep.” This CJ-2A model (for Civilian Jeep) was shorn of its military fixtures but was so rugged that it developed a following with farmers and tradesmen. Within four years, however, the United States became involved in hostilities in Korea, and an updated version of the military Jeep was called for. The then-current civilian Jeep was the CJ-3A, so Willys developed a militarized model, designated M38. Nearly 62,000 M38s were produced between 1950 and 1952.
The M38 offered here received a high-quality restoration in previous ownership. It has been part of its current owner’s esteemed collection for seven years, and during that time it has been mechanically freshened, although his mechanic notes that it has always run very well and has required only minimal care to operate reliably since acquired. Well-accessorized, it is equipped with a period-correct telephone, radio, gas can, helmet, and other accessories, as well as an operational siren. Most special of all, it is outfitted with an inert air-cooled .50-caliber machine gun, which is fueled by propane and oxygen so that it can “fire” authentic-sounding “shots!”
An ideal addition to any military vehicle collection, this fascinating M38 would undoubtedly be popular at local shows, including Veterans Day events and parades. It boasts a wonderful presentation and the full complement of accessories to make memories.