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M-38 Military Jeep

The M38 Jeep was the first post-WW II jeep, based on the civilian model CJ-3A, but upgraded for military use. The M38 was produced from 1950 to 1952 with a total of 45,473 manufactured by Willys. It is superficially very similar to the standard World War II jeep, but had significant differences and upgrades. Visually, the M38 can be distinguished by its external fuel filler outside the driver's position, a one piece windshield, and protruding headlights.

M38 military jeep on display at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, Germany, for the Independence Day Celebration, 4 July 2010
M38 military jeep on display at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, Germany, for the Independence Day Celebration, 4 July 2010.

Today in WW II: 20 Apr 1945 Northern Italy: US 5th Army breaks out beyond the Apennines, into the broad Po River Valley, forcing retreat across the Po by forces of German Gen. Heinrich Von Vietinghoff.   

Description of the M38 Jeep (G-740)

M38 jeep and soldiers use the exit ramp of a BARC, landing on a beach during training, circa 1960
M38 jeep and soldiers use the exit ramp of a BARC, landing on a beach during training, circa 1960.

The M38 Truck, 1/4 ton, 4x4 featured flat fenders, a one-piece windshield, bottom-mounted wipers and an air vent at the bottom center of the windshield frame. Military upgrades included a stronger frame and suspension, a 24-volt electrical system with two batteries, and full-floating rear axle. The M38 tires and wheels are sized 7:00-16, larger than the WW II jeeps.

Manufactured by Willys under the internal designation MC (next in line after the standard WW II jeep which was the Model MB when manufactured by Willys), the Jeep had an L-head, 4 cycle, 4-cylinder engine with synchromesh transmission and three forward gears. It had a crew of two and passenger capacity of two.

Photos are available on the M-38 Jeep page of the Olive-Drab.com Military Vehicle Charts.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the M-38 military jeep at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup:

Maj. General Patricia McQuistion, Commanding General, Army Sustainment Command, checks out the vintage M38 jeep she will ride in during the Rock Island Arsenal  150th anniversary celebration parade as owners Richard and Carol Morrow look on, Rock Island Arsenal, IL, 27 June 2012.
M38 Truck, 1/4-ton, 4x4 (jeep), manufactured 1951. Courtesty eBay seller dnelson1946.
Restored 1951 M38 Truck, 1/4-ton 4x4 (military jeep), with M100 or MB-T trailer. Courtesy eBay seller corvettehuntr.
Joint Color Guard leads the parade down Rodman Avenue during Rock Island Arsenal Armed Forces Day, 24 May 2011.
Following training in landing operations at Slapton Sands, England, membersof an armored unit being briefed at a marshalling area, May 1944.
Dick Morrow drives his 1952 M38 jeep with guests of honor, WWII veteran Arn Hilbert, Maj. Gen. Yves. J. Fontaine and his wife, Kathy, during the Rock Island Arsenal Armed Forces Day parade, 24 May 2011.

The M38 jeep was followed by the M38A1, a new design introduced in 1952.

Internet Resources for the M38 Jeep

The M38 jeeps that were built for the U.S. Army (and used by all the armed services) are very popular with collectors due to their reasonable size, ready availability of parts, and great off-road capabilities. There are many websites and forums devoted to the M38 and M38A1 jeep, some of the best collected on the linked page.

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: jeep m38 or m-38. Then click the Search button.

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