For his 40th birthday in 1965, my mother surprised my father (a WWII Army Infantry Veteran) with a slightly updated version of the army Jeep he drove overseas. The car she bought was a 1951 M38, still in olive drab and sporting the hood numbers – and to 10 year old me, it was about the best thing ever.
That 1951 pulled stumps, launched boats and plowed in the winter. It was also my regular high school ride, sweet. By the time my sister and I were teen drivers, dad had wisely added seat belts and a roll bar – both of those safety features (plus a generous dose of good fortune) were key factors in escaping a 1973 rollover with no major injuries. The salt water and plowing were mistakes, and by early 1975, the 1951 rusted apart, alas.
Dad replaced the 1951 with this 1952 M38 (#59,449), which did not plow and led an overall gentler life. The 1952 was a regular ride summers home from college. In 1995, Dad sent it to live with my sister on Long Island, and it has had a sheltered, well maintained life there since. She does not get to use it much these days, so it’s new retirement home is with me, outside Boston, MA, fully inspected, insured and ready to roll. Slowly. Carefully and only in nice weather.
One of us hasn’t really aged a bit in 44 years. I‘m afraid it’s the Jeep.
Willys Jeep Life Blog – Richard Novak
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