In 1940 the U.S. Army approved a light vehicle design capable of transporting personnel and cargo, towing a trailer and mounting weaponry. This was the 40 BRC model made by American Bantam. The prototype, called the “Quad”, was manufactured by Willys in late 1940. A more advanced version was built by Ford. 1500 units of both models were delivered to the army. As a result of comparison tests carried out between American Bantam’s 40 BRC, Willys’ Quad (later called MA) and Ford’s GP, the army decided to commission production of the Willys model with some modifications. One particular strength of this design was access to the engine. The resulting MB model entered production in December, 1941. Classified officially as “General Purpose ¼ Ton, 4×4” this monotype model was called “Jeep” from the letters GP.

Although a simple model, the 1952 M38/CJ-3A, boasting a powerful engine and a chassis suitable for heavy duty, entered mass production on December 10, 1951. The total number built was 88,098 units. This included the “Universal” made with open, canvas tops and with steel cab, for civilian use. 61,423 M38s were delivered to the army for the Korean War.

This Jeep, assembled in Toledo in April 1952, and used by an American General in the Korean War, was purchased at auction in the US in the early 1990s. There were problems with importation due to the two Motorola radios and the automatic rifle mounted on it!


  • Make Willys-Overland
  • Model CJ-3A
  • Model / Body Number M38 (MC)
  • Body Style Military Jeep
  • Year 1952
  • Origin U.S.A.
  • Production Total 61,423
  • Passenger Capacity 2 (+2)


  • Engine Willys, Go-Devil, 4 cyl, L-Head, Gasoline, 134.2 cu. inch, 60 bhp, 4000 rpm
  • Bore x Stroke 3.125 x 4.37 inch
  • Transmission Manual, 3-speed, 2-speed transfer case four wheel drive, floor shift
  • Top Speed 60 mph
  • Body / Frame Steel / Steel, U-section
  • Suspension Front, rear Semi-elliptic leaf springs
  • Electrical System 2 x 12 Volt, 45 Ampere (x2)
  • Brakes Hydraulic, 4-wheels drum
  • Wheelbase 80 inch
  • Overall Length 133 inch
  • Overall Width 62 inch
  • Overall Height 74 inch
  • Shipping Weight  2750 lbs
  • Front / Rear Tread 48.4 inch / 48.4 inch
  • Tires 7.00 x 16, 6-ply rating