In 1940, the U.S. 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 ¼-ton 4x4, 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 militarised model, designated M38. Nearly 62,000 M38s were produced between 1950 and 1952.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2010 at the Battersea Evolution, London.
60 bhp, 134 cu. in. side-valve four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual gearbox with two-speed transfer case and four-wheel drive, live front and rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Tom Wood