Classic Cars Wiki
Classic Cars Wiki

The Willys M38 US Army Jeep, replaced the World War II models known as MB and GPW. It was a 1/4 Ton 4 × 4 Utility Truck manufactured between 1950 and 1952 with a total production of 45,473 units. The M38 was based on the civilian model CJ3A. Willys designated it an MC. However, this version carried a beefier frame and suspension than the CJ3A. Some were assigned to the Korean theatre of operations and after that conflict was over in the mid 1950s, they were manufactured for export overseas.


The water fording ventilation system and a waterproof 24 volt electrical system were the major upgrades on the M38 (MC series). These features evolved from the many experimental configurations performed on the WWII Willys (MB series).

Its windshield could be folded flat for firing and the body was equipped with a pintle hook for towing and lifting shackles front and rear. The headlights were no longer recessed as on previous models, but protruded with a guard wire in front. The "pioneer" tools (axe and shovel) which were carried on the MB's driver side were transferred to the passenger side of this vehicle.


It weighed 2750# (3950# on road -gross) and had an 80" wheelbase. The M38 had a ground clearance of 9¼", a 74" height (top up) a width of 62" and a length of 133".


  • Bore/Stroke: 3.125" × 4.375"
  • Compression Ratio: 6.48:1
  • Displacement: 134.2 Cubic Inches
  • Torque: 105 Ft Lb @2000 RPM
  • Main Bearings: 3
  • Carburetor: Carter YS-637s


The whole air intake and axle system was fully vented to allow for proper operation under water. Its full floating front axle (Dana 25) was supported by the wheel hub, rather than the axle itself, and provided greater carrying capacity. The rear axle ( Dana 44) was semi-floating. Its powerplant was the L-head 134* with a T-90 transmission and Dana 18 transfer case.

Electrical system[]

The electrical system was upgraded to a 24 volt system which required dual 12 volt batteries connected in series. Its ignition and electrical systems were waterproof; a handy feature in rainy environments and where deep river fording was necessary.