This is my 1964 US Marine Corps Kaiser-Willys M38A1. This is one of the last models of this particular jeep that the military purchased. After the original Army procurement contract expired, the Marine Corps placed a special order for an upgraded M38A1 with extra undercoating, positive traction on both axles, etc.
This is one of the USMC contract vehicles that were made specifically for the Marines (1960-1967). I acquired it from a friend two years ago. The biggest problem with this jeep is that it sat outside in the South Carolina weather for 30+ years and was never cranked or driven. There’s a lot of rust in the floor panels, but overall the body, engine and drive train are in pretty good condition, and it only has 20,000 miles on it. It’s also completely original (except for the parts I’ve replaced), and it has never been civilianized or jury rigged—still has the original military waterproofed fuel and ignition system, and is only missing a few minor parts.
I’ve been working on it and had hoped to get it cranked up without tearing into the engine, but the compression is low, one of the exhaust valves is stuck open and so far I haven’t had any luck getting it to start. I have done a few other repairs as money permits, but funds are tight at the moment so I’m just working on it when I can. I do have it under cover and out of the weather, so it won’t deteriorate any further.
My dad was in the Marines from 1948-1960. He was in the Korean War in 1950-1951 with the 1st Motor Transport Battalion, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. He landed at Inchon, was in the liberation of Seoul, the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, and fighting in south and central Korea. After returning home, he was a Marine Corps motor pool supply clerk at Parris Island and Camp Lejeune, and I’m sure he handled thousands of parts for these jeeps and drove many of them. He passed away in 1993, so I’m restoring this not only because I love military vehicles in general and jeeps in particular, but also as a tribute to my dad and his service. Semper Fi!
These pictures show what it looked like when I first brought it home. We were able to tow it on its own wheels the two miles from the house of my friend who owned it before me. The old 6-ply military tires still hold air!
Kaiser Willys Jeep Blog Story – Michael Scoggins
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