FOUND: One Antique Willys

IMG_0862While wandering aimlessly on the downtown streets of my hometown recently, I stumbled across this beautiful example of a military-spec Willys Jeep.

Few details are available, as the owner was nowhere to be seen, and I had already received quite a few strange looks for all the photos I took of it, so I thought better of sitting in it and waiting for him to return. I have faith, nonetheless, that our beloved Hoonigans will let loose their ninja-like skills, and identify every detail of this vehicle, right down to the engine, transmission and optional cupholder location. Bonus points if you can track down the owner’s name. No, actually, don’t, that might be creepy.
Whoever owns it has gone to great lengths to make it period-correct as much as possible, however, and it is truly remarkable how much they’ve achieved. It’s also truly remarkable how it just doesn’t feel like a vehicle that’s well over twice my age.
Great details of note: blackouts on the turn-signals, with “road legal” detachable turn signals mounted on the fenders. Weird. I note also that there are three shifters; I’m going to assume it would be for the gearbox, two or four-wheel-drive, and high or low-range, but someone correct me if I’m wrong. Also. Can someone tell me what the rack is for on the dashboard? I’d almost guess it is supposed to hold a rifle, but perhaps I’m jumping to conclusions because it’s mounted in a vehicle that was originally intended for shootin’ people.
Also, note the rear tail lights. It appears there are a pair of them with blackouts, and then another extra taillight on the driver’s side only.
So much cool in such a little vehicle.

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  1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    I love the “turn off that damn intercom” label.

  2. ptschett Avatar

    I’m thinking it’s an M38A1. If so, the shifters are exactly what you assumed.

  3. Charles_Barrett Avatar

    Could that third rear red light be a foul weather taillight? I first encountered one on a leased 1982 Ford Fiesta (Euro spec), and my W210 has one tucked into the rear lamp cluster on the driver’s side… But I wouldn’t have thought anyone would have thought of that for a ’40s Jeep.
    Or maybe it is the original brake light; only one was required. The left- and right-mounted lamps on the rear bumper are aftermarket directional indicators only. Not “integrated” because they were not mandatory at the time of manufacture/sale.

  4. citroen67 Avatar

    Good God! I so would have one…

  5. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    You have a fine example of a Canadian variant M38A1. More or less spawned the CJ-5. The rack is for a rifle most likely. Wonder how old those omni-directional tires are?

    1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

      Oh and big shifter is the transmission, second stick should be transfer case (HI/Low) and unless it has a twin shift transfer case, the other is the PTO.

  6. CptSevere Avatar

    Yeah, nice M38A1. I want one of these, real bad. It has the f head four cylinder, a 134, I think. 24 volts, has the slave cable receptacle on the right fender, basically a military plug-in jumper cable. That’s a reflector on the back. Looks like another jack there as well, maybe for the radio antenna, this may have been a commo jeep. The old timers in my National Guard outfit used to wax nostalgic about these, said they outperformed the M151 Fords hands down, which were being phased out by the HMMV while I was in. The M151 didn’t have low range, just a lever for front wheel drive. this has a two speed transfer case, but not PTO, which would have run a winch, which I think these never had. Civilian Jeeps at the time had a PTO, which could run anything from a welder to a mower or anything you wanted to run. Damn, this jeep (military jeeps are lower case, as opposed to civilian Jeeps) is plain lovely.

  7. privateschoolTony Avatar

    Wow. Every time I go to Fry’s I love seeing those Army Willys. Even though they’re fake they still put much detail into them.
    Seeing this would make me feel like I was just drafted into the Army.

  8. FЯeeMan Avatar

    I've seen a nicely restored one running around Indianapolis a few times this summer. Nicely done in tan with orange wheels (dunno why…). Haven't have a camera with me any time I've seen it, though. I'll try to get some pics at some point.
    Kinda looks smart car sized next to the leviathan Explorers, et al that it darts between.

  9. superbadd75, enriched with vitamins and minerals. Avatar
    superbadd75, enriched with vitamins and minerals.

    I’m not sure what the rack in the middle (above the shifter) is for, but I’m almost certain that the one on the right is for a towel.

  10. superbadd75, enriched with vitamins and minerals. Avatar
    superbadd75, enriched with vitamins and minerals.

    Could it be Billy Timmerman of Alberta with a 1968 M38A1 for sale? Found a post on an Antique Willys Association forum.

  11. iheartstiggie Avatar

    Great article.
    We just recently sold our ’47 Willys. It was a rust bucket, missing the passenger seat and the majority of the floor, but it DID have it’s original little Go Devil engine that started (with a little help) each time and ran us around the farm. That thing was so damn cool. Sadly, we ran out of room and needed space for the VW Bus we had just bought so she had to go.
    She did go to a good home though and is in mid restoration. 🙂 So it was win/win.

    1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

      Always love seeing those little buggers get more life, and it’s probably easier to find parts for them than anything else on the road.

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