Mystery Year Willys Military Jeep

The seller of this Willys Jeep says they aren’t sure what the year is. It is titled as 1950, but they have been told it is a war-era Jeep from circa 1942 to 1946. It can be found here on Craigslist with an asking price of $6,500. If you are a mid-century Jeep expert, let us know what you think the year of this one is. The seller says it was first used at an Air Force base and when it retired from military service, it was used on two farms. Have a closer look at this project and thanks to Ikey H. for the tip on this old Jeep.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any photos of the interior or engine compartment in the ad. These Jeeps are very basic and are easy to work on, which makes them great for a first-time project. You can see this one features dual gas cans, nice spare tire, and fold-out “safari” windshield. The seller says the engine has been re-built and it “purrs like a sewing machine.”

The jeep features awesome military-style tires and the brakes and brake hoses have been replaced. You can also see a small winch on the front bumper along with spotlights on the fenders, which the seller says all work. Overall, this looks like a good project that would be perfect for a parent/child or first-time restorer. Hopefully, this Jeep will get a new lease on life and will be enjoyed for years to come.


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  1. Kevin

    The grill says 1950’s. Pictures, or description of engine. would help. It seems a bit much considering there are too many maybe’s involved.

    Like 3
  2. Evan

    You would think (just guessing; haven’t tried) that there are Jeep websites where a person could figure out what year a Jeep was made by the serial number.

    Like 7
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      Yes – serial # on frame – should start with GPA –

      Like 4
    • Rhett

      if it’s a 50-54 M38 (which it appears to be) the serial number will be between 10001 and 72329. The serial number tag is on the cowl.

      Like 3
  3. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Not a GPA….it’s like all over the place to identify one – even the radiator. This one seams to be missing a lot of WWII pieces which is often removed. The WWII did have a glove box which this appears to not have. Sold a 1943 still wearing the rare two piece Jeep wheels to a guy in England about 6 months ago for half what this guys asking.

    Like 4
  4. DualJetfire

    I always wanted a Rat Patrol Jeep with a machine gun in the back.

    Like 12
    • David Conwill

      This one definitely has the “rat” aspect down.

      I would drive the heck out of it once I’d gone through it to make sure it would go, stop, and not break down in the process.

  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    If it doesn’t have an opening tailgate it could be an early Ford. had a ’42 Ford at one time.

    Like 2
  6. Todd Zuercher

    The headlights and grille are civilian – CJ-2A or newer, which started as a ’46 model. The windshield with the opening glass is also a CJ-2A feature although the windshield has definitely been modified on this one and no longer folds forward. We can’t see much else although the panels on the driver’s side near the seat opening look like a military Jeep – MB or GPW – they have the indentations and no gas filler. I also don’t see a tailgate. So yeah, a mystery as to exactly what it is.

    Like 2
  7. Howard A Member

    While I’m no expert( although I pretend to be one on BF’s) I think this is a CJ2A, made from 1946-1949. This, I read, was Willys first stab at a civilian Jeep, and was remarkably successful, over 1/4 million sold. Originally marketed as the “Agri-Jeep”, it could be had with a dozen attachments aimed at the farmer. It didn’t take long for “regular folks” to figure out, it was the best thing coming.

    Like 6
  8. ken tilly UK Member

    I was told by a Jeep “Expert” many years ago that the easiest way to tell if it was a WW2 Jeep was by the number of vertical bars the radiator grill had. If it had 7 bars it was WW2, and if it had 9 bars it was post war. Not sure if this is absolutely true but that’s the story I was told.

    Like 1
    • Piros1

      Actually Ken you have the grill in reverse. 9 slots are WW2 and 7 slot is post WW2. It appears to me to be a CJ2A but may be a post war Flatty.

      Like 1
  9. Rhett

    It’s probably all true, my guess is it’s a 50 M38 , the military version of the CJ2. Yes, it’s been modified over the years but still looks like a pretty cool truck.

    Like 4
  10. Dennis M

    That windshield looks homemade to me. I think this one is a ‘bitsa’ this and ‘bitsa’ that!

    Like 7
  11. bobhess bobhess Member

    Lost the good pictures in the hurricane but here is an off center shot of our unmolested ’42 Ford. If someone can move it and blow it up maybe the grill will tell something about the age of this one.

    Like 1
  12. MarkH

    Nice looking Jeep, Bob! I resized it for you, but I can’t figure out how to post an image.

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars

      Hope this helps.

      Like 1
  13. luke arnott Member

    It’s not an MB or a Ford GPW.

  14. fozbuzz Member

    military Jeeps 41-45 had no tailgate, so body tub is military, but front clip is civilian

    Like 1
  15. Christopher Gentry

    Yeah. I’m no Jeep expert , but I am a WWII buff and this Jeep COULD be a cold war era military , but I’m pretty doggone certain she’s not a WWII era. I tend to lean toward the CJ 2 opinions above. My uncle had a couple of 50s CJ 2, always painted them OD and had fun with em.

    Like 1
  16. Gator Member

    M38 tub and probably running gear. CJ2A grill. Otherwise it’s a crap shoot to decide what is what. Windshield appears to be CJ also. Price is prohibitive for a mishmash of this sort.

    Like 1
  17. TouringFordor

    If it’s military, I don’t see the grab handles or pioneer kit holders on the sides of the body. Also the headlights should be behind the grille, as they folded back to light the engine compartment.

    Like 1
  18. bobhess bobhess Member

    Thanks Mark! Crew chief says she thinks she has a way to unload it and a couple of others with the same problem and reload them to work on the site. Anyone get a good enough look to count the grill bars?

    • MarkH

      9 bars.

    • MarkH

      I enlarged the photo and color-corrected it, so the photo doesn’t have that faded look. Lemme know if you’d like me to send it to you.

    • Ken

      I cropped and enlarged it. Looks a tad fuzzy, but that’s to be expected.

  19. robbert

    The “bug eyes” denote it as early fifties. Not as pretty as the WW2 grill in my opinion. The drop tailgates were for civilian jeeps only.

  20. bobhess bobhess Member

    Mark H. Would love to see what you did to the picture.

    • MarkH

      Would love to post it, but I guess you need to be a member…

  21. bobhess bobhess Member

    Ken. Picture was taken with a good film camera but the temp was around 18 degrees. Probably my teeth chattering made it fuzzy….. Thanks! Looks good.

    Like 1
  22. Craig Sibert

    M 38 tub CJ grill no bumperettes on rear no grab handles ,windshield is post war cause it’s too wide on bottom ,steps behind fender too small,should . MB orGPW would have gas tank filler cap under seat holes for summer top holes for door straps etc etc.not worth much for any collector, just have fun with it

  23. Darrel Frank

    MB or GPW tub on a post war frame and front clip. Pioneer tool indents on left, M38 would be on right. No filler neck says WW2, semi floating 2 piece axles say it’s not WW2 axle. Front clips are interchangeable on all the flatties. She’s a Mutt, and not the M151 kind!

    Like 2
  24. Doug L.

    Yes it is what Jeep guys call a Jeep salad.the grill is an M38,notice the unused holes in the bottom of the grill where the hinges should be.still looks like olive drab paint where they were attatched.I agree that it looks like a WW2 tub.hard to say what frame it pics under hood,seems a little high someone said just have fun with it.

    Like 2
    • Darrel Frank

      Good catch on the grille Doug L. I missed the holes for the wire headlight guards!

  25. Kenn

    Just curious: What in the world difference does it make if the year isn’t 1j950 but maybe anywhere from mid-1940’s to whenever they redesigned the things. They are all fun, look pretty much alike, don’t appreciate in price like over-priced (IMO) “collector” cars – cars that owners don’t drive and enjoy for fear of losing money on the resale. I do feel this is probably overpriced, though I admit I don’t know what there is like it that you could get for 6 grand.

  26. Doug L.

    Darrel, and good catch on the headlight guard holes.
    Kenn,I agree with what you is just natural for Jeep nuts to wander what all has been changed on an old flatfender.without better pics it leads to a lot of guessing as to what all is really far as the year,in some states like Ohio you have to have a title to license a vehicle for use on public roads,so sometimes a jeep salad or frankenjeep creates issues especially from out of state.

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