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Discussion Starter #1
So I was out at work today (garage door repair) and after I was done changing this lady's springs, she informed me that her husband was looking to sell his 1955 Willys Jeep, which was used in the war. From what I've seen of it, there's not a fleck of rust, the paint looks great, supposedly starts, runs, and drives great. They're asking $5000. I don't have room for another Jeep, but this sounds a little low so I was hoping there's a little room for a flip... What do you think?
 

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You could try to find out if theres a data plate somewhere on it or rivet holes where one should be. I don't know too much about old military vehicles but it would be a dead giveaway if it had one.
 

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Thanks. How do I find out if it's an M68A1? Is that in the vin, or where?
My bad on the typo, I meant to say M38A1.

Anyway, the CJ-5 production started in 1954 as I recall, so this could be either one and the seller doesn't know how to tell the difference. A few things make the military version different from the civilian Jeep and I'll list a few. One of the best ways to tell is the dash board because even though the bodies would be modified, people usually left the dash alone.

The M38A1 has a data plate located on the dash in front of the passenger seat behind a grab handle. The CJ-5 does not but it may have been removed throughout the years..

The CJ-5 may have a glove box and the M38A1 does not. I'm not sure of the year when they started putting them in the civilian Jeeps but the military Jeep definitely never had one.

Lastly, it looks like the dash is a bit taller on the M38A1 and it extends farther down past the steering column than the CJ-5.

Here's a link to a PDF document that may help: http://www.gvrdeu.org/M38 Service Manual/Jeep ID.pdf


 

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M38A1 is also going to have the battery compartment on the cowl, just in front of the windshield as seen in the top picture.

Whether it's a M38A1 or a CJ5, if it is in as good of condition as you describe I'd expect it's worth more than they're asking.

The military vehicle collector market is kinda funny though. As scare as a really good condition M38A1 is, I'd expect it won't bring 10K unless it's pristine.
 

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Not to over state the obvious...but it also will depend on where you "try to sell it"...saw a Military Duece and 1/2 with trailer for Less than $10K at a steam and tractor show? A sfar as I know they had to drive it home.....if I had the space and time I know I think that would be an AWESOME TOW PIG!! Lot of guys in local Jeep club gave me crap for not buying it...a few said they would rather wheel it...anyway....Jeep event would be the BEST place to sell it and RUST FREE in this neck of the woods is un heard of!! GOOD LUCK!!
 

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I have a 52 and a 53 M38-A1 jeeps. They do have a glove box but it is on the drivers side not the passengers side. Vin plate on frame near the front bumper. Springs have lots of leaves CJ5's have like 4 or 5 leaves.
 

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My bad on the typo, I meant to say M38A1.

Anyway, the CJ-5 production started in 1954 as I recall, so this could be either one and the seller doesn't know how to tell the difference. A few things make the military version different from the civilian Jeep and I'll list a few. One of the best ways to tell is the dash board because even though the bodies would be modified, people usually left the dash alone.

The M38A1 has a data plate located on the dash in front of the passenger seat behind a grab handle. The CJ-5 does not but it may have been removed throughout the years..

The CJ-5 may have a glove box and the M38A1 does not. I'm not sure of the year when they started putting them in the civilian Jeeps but the military Jeep definitely never had one.
Thanks BeastMaster for the info and tips! Glad I did my research on the difference here and glad I found your post so quickly.
 

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Sounds like a great deal to me. I had a 54 (many moons ago) and miss it a lot. The only time I ever got it stuck was crossing a Dutch on my oroperty, by high centering it....I just took a long 4x4 and lifted it over and drive right out. Good memories with that M38A1.
 

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1955 Willys Jeep, which was used in the war.
Vietnam?

For the body, the obvious would be: does it have a tailgate? G503s and M38/A1s don't have tailgates and have the spare wheel mounted at the rear.

Cowl mounted batteries (rather than under the hood) are another M38A1 indicator.

From what I read, the engine number should begin with a, 'M' and the frame should be boxed between the front bumper and grille.

Regardless, if it runs and drives well, it's probably worth more than the $5,000, if you can find the right market. I'm finding prices anywhere from $3,500 to $25,000 for CJ5s.
 

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No I passed on it. There was some miscommunication between the husband and wife, he wanted $10,000 for it and was convinced it was a military jeep. It had patch panels welded all over, there was bondo all over the thing and it was easy to spot with the naked eye, it wouldn’t start when we got there, and the radiator was bone dry so who knows how long he’d been driving it like that. We passed.
 
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