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Military Spec Project: 1952 Jeep M38A1

Based on the story told on craigslist, it’s hard to tell exactly what happened to this delightful military-spec 1952 Jeep M38A1. The seller’s listing photos show a Jeep like this one in various stages of use, from wartime deployment to a full-sized family going for a happy top-down ride. But it seems like the Jeep is the one captured in the photos here, a truck that was found in surprisingly rust-free condition in an Arkansas field and still capable of firing up and running under its own power but needing restoration. The Jeep made a long trek to Montana, where it now resides and is listed here on craigslist with an asking price of $5,900 or best offer.

From a sun-drenched Arkansas field to the harsh climate of Kalispell, Washington, the Jeep looks ready to roll into action. Now, bear with me here: the seller’s listing reads like that of a vehicle that has seen no restoration attempts made. The listing notes the wheels and tires “…look nearly new”, with no sign of cracking – but that would be unusual to find on a truck parked in an overgrown field, no? Regardless, it’s certainly possible the Jeep had fresh tires mounted and was then parked outside when a relative passed away, or some other event that saw it left for dead in a field.

Then there’s the random photo of what looks like a dad and his kids out for a drive. Is this Jeep a runner, at least to the point that it can reliably used? Hard to tell, because all of the other photos show it either on a trailer or in this garage. Another curious detail is a black-and-white photo of a very nicely preserved M38A1 parked at the end of a driveway with a 1970s-era Cadillac parked nearby – is this what this Jeep once looked like before it was abandoned? If so, it was a very nice example with a full canvas roof and its military identification numbers still visible on the hood. There has to be a story here, at least more than is being told in the listing.

Sellers can make or break their sale based on how a description is written, and in this case, the story being told could likely be so much richer if this Jeep was previously restored and then forgotten when an owner died or their interests changed. What a shame if it had its original military-grade paint still adhered, only to see it flake off in the hot Arkansas summer sun. Still, for a vintage Jeep that runs and has only minor rust, along with its believed numbers-matching engine and original 24 volt military electrical system, this is a deserving project that likely won’t need a massive investment to be a desirable specimen once again.


  1. Steve Clinton

    The only nice comment I can come up with is ‘it’s outstanding in its field’. (groan)

    Like 14
  2. Mike

    Kalispell, Washington? Didn’t know WA state’s border extended an extra 180 miles eastward.

    Like 6
  3. t-bone BOB

    Located in Kalispell, MT

    Like 0
  4. Trevor

    I can say that any old Jeep is a reliable one… I currently drive in 1964 Jeep willys that pulled out of field and it takes about an hour of maintenance before I take it out 4 wheeling, awesome!

    Like 4
  5. Glenn C. Schwass Member

    Why did the military use 24vdc? Was it so it matched larger trucks?

    Like 0
  6. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    There’s the right way , the wrong way and the army way.
    Man this is something I’d like to get, but that won’t happen in this lifetime.
    God bless America

    Like 0
  7. dogwater

    pop cans

    Like 0

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