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willysmjeeps.com :: View topic - '51 M38 Serial Number
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'51 M38 Serial Number

 
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redvettemike
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Joined: Jun 01, 2018
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:09 am    Post subject: '51 M38 Serial Number Reply with quote

We are going to get a nice '51 M38 (I think that is correct) running and then perhaps painted. It has been in the same family since the 50's. the data plates on the dash are gone. Can you folks advise if the serial number of the Jeep is located somewhere else on the frame/body/etc? We need that number to get some insurance as well as a Title.
Thanks for any help.
Mike
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radtech
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Joined: Aug 09, 2010
Posts: 164

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the serial number plate on the fender well behind the passenger seat is missing there is no way to tell what the serial number was.
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wesk
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Joined: Apr 04, 2005
Posts: 13821
Location: Wisconsin

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike,

As soon as you return the survey form I sent you the sooner we can narrow down the date of production of your M38. Willys built the M38's on the calendar year system, not the model year system. IE the 1st 51 M38 was built the first week of January 1951 and the last was built the last week of December 1951. However the changes during production are documented by serial number groups.

I have a huge photo album in our "Member's Albums" page with 100's of tech photos to help with ID'g your M38 and restoring it. Please use them: http://www.willysmjeeps.com/v2/modules.php?set_albumName=Wes-Knettle&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php

Also I have a sub-album "M38 Survey Form Guide" that helps with the completion of the survey form: http://www.willysmjeeps.com/v2/modules.php?set_albumName=album84&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php

As mentioned above the body/chassis only left Willys with two serial number plates. The one on the dash and the one on the right rear wheel house. There were no serials stamped in the frame. There was no attempt by Willys to match engine serials with chassis serials so no help there.




The patent plate often has several coats of paint hiding it.



Note that none of these plates were riveted or welded on. So a lot of plate swapping has occurred over the years.

The engine serial is on the small flat above the water pump and was part of the blocks top deck so if the block was ever rebuilt then odds are it was also decked and the serial will be hard to read or gone.



Jeeps that were rebuilt at military overhaul depots often had their hood registration number or chassis/tub serial number stamped on the left front frame rail in various locations depending on the depot and the employee.

The engine casting number (lower right side of block) will let you know quickly if there is any possibility the engine is original to the jeep. During production of the M38 from SEP 1950 thru JUN 1952 the casting used from 1950 thru early 52 was 641087. It was built in three versions during that period. They are each shown in my M38 Survey Guide album.
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Wes K
45 MB, 51 M38, 54 M37, 66 M101A1, 60 CJ5, 76 DJ5D, 47Bantam T3-C & 5? M100

Mjeeps photo album: http://www.willysmjeeps.com/v2/modules.php?set_albumName=Wes-Knettle&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php
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redvettemike
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Joined: Jun 01, 2018
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found it! Thanks for Wes K. The data plate behind the pass seat still was there. The serial number is MC55893. We are cleaning the Jeep up. Rust is not much of an issue. Tks.
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dpcd67
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Joined: Nov 25, 2016
Posts: 83
Location: Iowa

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rust is not much of an issue??? I haven't heard that phrase in 25 years. Must live in the Southwest.
In the Eastern half of the US, Rust is Always an issue.
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wesk
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Joined: Apr 04, 2005
Posts: 13821
Location: Wisconsin

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MC55893 is a February 1952 unit.
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Wes K
45 MB, 51 M38, 54 M37, 66 M101A1, 60 CJ5, 76 DJ5D, 47Bantam T3-C & 5? M100

Mjeeps photo album: http://www.willysmjeeps.com/v2/modules.php?set_albumName=Wes-Knettle&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php
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redvettemike
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So the unit is really considered a 1952 vehicle? The owners are calling it a 1951.
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4x4M38
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Joined: May 30, 2014
Posts: 2798
Location: Texas Hill Country

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, it was built in early 1952, but is a 1951 year model.

I donít know when Detroit and everybody else started doing that,
but the new model year cars come out in the fall of the previous year.

Iím guessing Willys did the same with MVís.
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Brian
1950 M38
MC11481
http://www.willysmjeeps.com/v2/modules.php?set_albumName=album372&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php
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wesk
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Joined: Apr 04, 2005
Posts: 13821
Location: Wisconsin

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brian, Please read my posts more closely before offering advice. Your current post just further confuses the original poster. I already explained above that Willys did not use the model year system! They used the calendar year system.

Quote:
Willys built the M38's on the calendar year system, not the model year system. IE the 1st 51 M38 was built the first week of January 1951 and the last was built the last week of December 1951. However the changes during production are documented by serial number groups.

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

Mjeeps photo album: http://www.willysmjeeps.com/v2/modules.php?set_albumName=Wes-Knettle&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php
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RonD2
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Joined: Oct 02, 2014
Posts: 347
Location: South Carolina, Dorchester County

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brian,
Probably describing this poorly, but I don't think the Army cared about "year model", even today. What mattered on property records was the purchase contract (with modifications) and the date of delivery, both stamped on the Government dash data plate --- but not on the Willys patent plate. I doubt very much that Willys had "year models" on M38's like they did CJ's. Year model is a selling point in the civilian market. Uncle Sam could care less about it. Unless changed by contract, all M38's were supposed to be identical no matter which year they were built or delivered. The date stamped on the data plate is the date of delivery to the Army, not the date it was built.

Just my 2 cents (after 40 years working for Uncle Sam). Very Happy

Ponder this: it takes Electric Boat Division 5 years to build a new submarine, contract awarded in 2018, set for delivery to Uncle Sam in 2023. Did Uncle buy a 5 year old submarine on the day it was delivered? I don't think so. Same idea, much smaller scale for M38's.

No intent to kick the hornets nest Wes! Shocked
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Ron D.
1951 M38 Unknown Serial Number
1951 M100 Dunbar Kapple 01169903 dod 5-51
1954 M100 Dunbar Kapple M750759 dod 1-54

ďThe only good sports car that America ever made was the Jeep."
--- Enzo Ferrari

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4x4M38
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Joined: May 30, 2014
Posts: 2798
Location: Texas Hill Country

PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess Iím thinking about titling.

Agreed the military didnít care, but the local
tax folks do care about model year.

A CJ built in September 1950 would be a 1951
model on the invoice and title, correct?

So, September 1950 built M38 would be what
model year on the title?

Not arguing, wanting to know.
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Brian
1950 M38
MC11481
http://www.willysmjeeps.com/v2/modules.php?set_albumName=album372&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php
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RonD2
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Joined: Oct 02, 2014
Posts: 347
Location: South Carolina, Dorchester County

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Brian,
I don't have any experience with antique vehicles so can't say about your CJ question. Are you saying it never had a title issued previously anywhere? Because if it did, then I'd guess the date on that title would rule for any following title? Never had a title before? My guess is you could still get one, bonded maybe? With an inspection to verify the date you name is in the ballpark?

My guess on M38's is the "date built" doesn't matter to a DMV, mainly because nobody has any way of knowing when it was actually built and even less ability to prove it. If the original dash data plate is present and it says the delivery date to the Government was September 1950 then my guess is a DMV would take it as a 1950 "model" for title and registration purposes. Before that date it didn't exist. If the jeep had a title issued anywhere before, then my guess is you'd be stuck with that date no matter what.....unless it was something really stupid like titled as a 1969 model and you could prove (probably by inspection) that it's a real M38 that were only made 1950-1952, but even then bureaucracies tend to be entrenched, even with non-sense, in my experience. The SCDMV has been pretty reasonable with my predicament.

For people with M38's like me that came with no data plates, and the jeep was bought in a state (Georgia) that doesn't issue titles to old relics, when I brought it to South Carolina I picked "1952" and filled out the Bill of Sale that way, and after educating them a bit about the M38 and an inspection they agreed and issued me a 17-digit V.I.N. as a 1952 Willys M38. Given that, now the SCDMV doesn't care one bit about about the repro dash and Willys patent plates I put on it and neither does my insurance company --- all they care about is the V.I.N. tag I had to rivet to the front frame rail.

As for the tax man, one could think that taxes on a 1952 anything would be near zero, right? Wait until they ask you what you paid for it, or what you think it's worth, or what you have it insured for. At least that's how it works here.......Shocked

I know, a lot of guessing. Just my 2 cent experience. Very Happy
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Ron D.
1951 M38 Unknown Serial Number
1951 M100 Dunbar Kapple 01169903 dod 5-51
1954 M100 Dunbar Kapple M750759 dod 1-54

ďThe only good sports car that America ever made was the Jeep."
--- Enzo Ferrari

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