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1953 M38A1 question

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Joined: Dec 31, 2014
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 9:31 pm    Post subject: 1953 M38A1 question Reply with quote

I have a 1953 M38A1 sn 58736 that Ive had for about 20 years. When I bought it it was equipped with a small block Chevy, Saginaw steering conversion and all the paint on the outside had been sanded off and replaced with sandable primer. It had Marine Corps rear bumper and an undercoating resembling roofing tar had been sprayed on the bottom of the body and frame everywhere except where the previous owner had "welded". The question is under the undercoat on the bottom of the tub was painted what appears to be Army od, the inside of the firewall and the back od the dash was gray and the inside of the fenders was a much lighter green. I hadnt found this site when I put the Jeep together and I painted it the same color as the inside of the fenders which is a flat green that was identified as 383. by Sherman Williams. I have always been curious as to the military history of this rig. Any ideas?
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In 1953 the Army was still the prime contracting agency for all DOD tactical wheeled vehicles. Thus the data plates if original to your jeep should show the procurement agency as US Army and the Depot agency as USMC if it was truly a Marine issued unit. The hidden areas would have been OD 2430 still and a finish coat of US Marine Corp Forest green would cover the rest of the jeep. The Marines undercoated their jeeps when they received them in the field. MD58736 would be a Sep 1953 M38A1 with the 8 fastener battery lid, hinged grill and early fenders.

This is a NOS pre-1960 USMC data plate set

This is a Nov 1953 USN responsible agency plate.

This is the 8 fastener battery cover

This is the early M38A1 fender

USMC Front Bumper and Rear CROSSMEMBER (not called a bumper)

This is the early hinged grill used thru MD60406

Early M38A1 front frame rail
Wes K
45 MB, 51 M38, 54 M37, 66 M101A1, 60 CJ5, 76 DJ5D, 47Bantam T3-C & 5? M100

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Joined: Dec 31, 2014
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: M38A1 questions Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply, the data plates on the dash were removed as well a large part of the dash panel, in fact most of the dash plate. Looking at the colors, the 383 that I painted it with, which I believe is a later MERDC green for camouflage. It is close to the forest green the USMC used. This is more of a curiousity question, as this is not a restoration, more of a resto mod and a friend of the family. In 2014 I changed the engine from a Chevy 350 to a Kubota turbo diesel. I kept the SM465 transmission, restored the early fenders; the previous owner made them into flat fenders so I sectioned some fenders I had from a mail jeep and now have complete early fenders. The brakes were changed to disc brakes several years ago, with frame mounted Willwood mc. so those remain. What Im shooting for is an authentic looking M38A1 built for balance, safety and reliability like Willys would build if they were to build a diesel powered jeep today. Thanks again for your reply and this is one of the best sites Ive caome across
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