To Top

John’s ‘new’ M-38

• CATEGORIES: Features, M-38

John contacted me last month asking me to comment on several different jeeps he wanted to purchase.  His goal was to buy an older jeep and had several in his area (midwest) he was choosing between.  I thought it might be helpful to share my thought processes involved in helping John.

He narrowed his choice down to between a 42/43 GPW, a 1947 CJ-2A military clone, and a restored M-38 (though missing a few of he details of a polished restoration). He said he was only going to use the vehicle for around town trips and did not plan to offroad it at all. He asked for my opinion and here are summaries of my responses.

GPW: The GPW looked pretty good, however there had been a good deal of work done to the front areas of the frame (welds along the top and bottom near the bumper brackets, along with indentations along the side of the frame indicate lots of grinding).  It had been patched together from the inside and ground down on the outside to make it appear smooth.  I’m sure it was solid enough to meet his needs, but I think it dropped the value somewhat.  If this is equal in price to the M-38, than personally I would go with the M-38.

CJ-2A Military Clone: I’m sure this would be a solid jeep to drive around, though this jeep should be priced significantly lower than the other two; Given the dirty condition of the engine, I’d be a little worried that the drive train hasn’t been examined recently (perhaps the seller has indicated that the drive train has been rebuilt?).  Since it is your desire to have a vehicle that is dependable out of the box, I’m less sure this one is for you.  Price-wise, this should be quite a bit less than the others given it’s blended history, say in the $3500-$4500 price range at most.

M-38: It isn’t a perfect restoration (for example, the tranny cover has plenty of dents and imperfections), but it looks very solid, which meets your needs.  The M-38 should hold its value well, as there were fewer of these made then most any other model.

Out of the three, I liked the M-38 best for him, as the seller had good pics showing the initial state of the vehicle before restoration, during restoration and after restoration.  There was also room for John to make value-added improvements, such as adding stickers and other details.

John has owned it a few weeks now and I asked him how he liked it.  He wrote back, “I know that it will have issues only because it is an old jeep. It has lots of funny noises and stuff that I’m not used to. It took me awhile to get used to a choke and floor start and throttle. It has the overdrive which i guess i should just leave alone. The guy i got it from forgot to put new cotter keys in the whole front end so that spooked me after I found it but no problem. He left one of the plugs out of the front steering knuckle so I’m going to have to get one. He welded new bracing underneath and did a pretty good job, but there are a couple of spots that could have been better. The motor really seems to run good. I’m still kind of terrified of the 24 volt system like if it ever stalls how the hell do you jump it. I’m kind of getting used to the shift pattern and double clutching to get in third without a small grind but its ok. All in all, I didn’t get it for a show jeep, just for tooling around town. My town is around 14 thousand people and they have never seen anything like this. The little kids give me the thumbs up and the old guys smile.”

Congrats John!  Here are some pics. In the first two you can see the pre-restoration starting point.  The work was done by Eric out of Granite City, Illinois.

Here, much work has been done.

Now it is close to being finished and readied to be sold:

John added some stickers and now has a great little jeep:


7 Comments on “John’s ‘new’ M-38

  1. deilers

    Hi William,

    It isn’t for sale at this time. John was just sharing his new Jeep and the work that was done to it.


    – Dave

  2. william

    dang. was wanting to buy one. have always loved those jeeps and want to get one when i get back from afghanistan.

  3. deilers

    William, when you get back let me know ( and I’ll do some searches to see what is available for you. There’s some good deals on M-38s and others out there if you can be a little patient.

    Best of luck to you!

    – Dave

  4. william

    i can be pleanty patient 🙂 looking for something driveable, cosmetics doesnt matter as long as it has no engine or drivetrain issues. lookin for the $6,000 range or less. and thank you!

  5. john jr

    hey guys, just a note of thanks for the remarks on the jeep; but once again, eric in granite city is the one who made it happen. i looked long and hard before making the decison. also thanks to david again for his input. john jr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe without commenting