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Thread: New Member - 1952 M38 + 1942 GPW

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    New Member - 1952 M38 + 1942 GPW

    Hi Everyone,

    Good to e-meet everyone and happy to be part of the community!

    Let me start off by apologizing for the long backstory, but it's relevant to a question at the end

    My grandfather purchased our Willys back in the 60's. Family legend is it was while he was working for Pacific Union and the Army was transferring surplus vehicles for auction. He ended up purchasing a 1942 GPW with a seized motor. We always believed it to be a 42 GPW, but built in 1952 - why, I don't know. My father put in a 1960 Buick 231 and also replaced the transmission. Fast forward 25 years and my grandfather ended up gifting it to my parents as a late wedding gift. To keep it running over the years the Jeep has had the rear differential replaced (from an old mail truck) and a number of other items. My 3 brothers and I would argue who would eventually get the Jeep; I lucked out and last year my parents decided it would be mine. I recently had it shipped from my fathers house in Washington State to our home in Houston Texas.

    Because of all the modifications I don't think it will ever get back to its original state - nor is that my goal. I simply hope to keep it running/drivable and keep it in the family. As I noted above, we always believed it to be a 42 GPW that was built in 1952 - I unfortunately have no data to support the story, it was just what our family always shared. Looking at the plates on the dash, it's actually a 1952 M38. The tailgate and windshield confirm this, BUT the front grill is from a 1942 GPW (see pics). This now puts into question where my grandfather purchased it from (its not a M38A1). This was not done by my grandfather or father - it was purchased as is. My question is whether anyone knows if Willy's had built mixed models or if that had to be done by a previous owner?

    Regardless, I plan to keep it as is. Not only do I like the look, but keeps it as a unique family heirloom.

    Thank you and I look forward to connecting with folks in the future!

    Luis from Houston
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Welcome LLejensen87,

    We like back stories, or stories of any kind really.

    Darned near anything is possible when Willys, Ford, and the US government are involved together. It is possible that a '42 could be titled as a '52, because depending on the state, and what was put on the discharge paperwork for the vehicle model year. We have learned over the years to never say Willys/Ford never did something, or this model can not be equipped with, (fill in the blank).

    You do have a nice example of an M38. There is no telling when and where the grill was installed. That will probably remain a mystery. Just enjoy the Jeep for what it is, and preserve the family history.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    gmwilys is all over it, Enjoy it for what it is. The history you have on it is the best part. As long as its running it will be fun! The jeeps beauty is its ability to use parts across the board. The intent was to stay in the fight. If you were stranded in battle and had a few blown up various year jeeps, with some basic tools you could get one running from the parts you find.

    That thing looks like it has real good steel. Here's a great 1952 M38 that is not stock by a long shot. But definitely very cool!

    https://willysjeepforum.kaiserwillys...ghlight=tjones
    Last edited by bmorgil; 12-10-2020 at 09:06 AM. Reason: forgot the link

  4. #4
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    The riveted over scallops in the hood also mark it as an M38 along with the indentations for tools under the passenger side entrance.

    The 10-slot grill isn't standard on M38's, but we've learned to not to say "Willys would never have put a left over MB grill on an M38". 1952 was the last production and if line control needed 35 more grills, and someone knew where there were a bunch of MB grills back in a warehouse, all it took was an easy contract modification for the convenience of the government to make it happen.

    Jeeps are Mystery Machines as well as Time Machines.

    Enjoy it!

  5. #5
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    How do you just skip over the part about being the brother who got the Jeep? There must be more to that story... We take it as a kindness if you share your methodologies on wins of that beautiful higher order, being the prize is a family heirloom Jeep! We are learners of many things here. Welcome in!

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