Willys M38

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Willys MC / M38
Willys M38 JT-23-70 pic3.JPG
A restored Willys M38
TypeQuarter-ton [a] 4x4 utility truck
Place of originUnited States
Service history
WarsKorean War
Vietnam War
Laotian Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
other conflicts
Production history
No. builtmore than 45,473 produced[1]
Mass2,625 lb (1,191 kg) Empty
Length133 in (3.38 m)
Width62 in (1.57 m)
Height69+34 in (1.77 m)

EngineWillys MC[2]
60 hp (45 kW)
Transmission3 spd. x 2 range trf. case
SuspensionBeam axles on leaf springs
Fuel capacity13 US gal (49 l)
220 mi (354.1 km)
Maximum speed 60 mph (97 km/h)

The Willys MC, formally the 14-Ton, 4 x 4, Utility Truck M38, or the G‑740 by its U.S. Army Standard Nomenclature supply catalog designation, is a quarter-ton four-wheel drive military light utility vehicle made by Willys between 1949 and 1952. It replaced (in production), and succeeded the World War II Willys MB and Ford GPW models, with a total production of some 50,000 units — less than one tenth the number of WWII models built.[1] Unlike during WWII, Ford was no longer involved in the production.

The M38 was a military version of the then-current civilian Jeep CJ-3A.[1] It differed from the CJ-3A in numerous ways, including a reinforced frame and suspension,[3] waterproof 24-volt electrical system,[1] sealed vent system for the engine, transmission, transfer case, fuel system[1] and brake system.[citation needed]

Some M38 jeeps served in the Korean theatre of operations, but the majority of units used there were remanufactured World War II jeeps. Approximately 2,300 M38 Jeeps were manufactured by Ford of Canada for Canadian Armed Forces in 1952, designated as the M38-CDN jeep. The M38 Willys MC was succeeded by the M38A1 Willys MD in 1952.

The M38 windshield could be folded flat for firing and the body was equipped with a pintle hook for towing and lifting shackles front and rear. The headlights were no longer recessed as on previous models, but protruded with a guard wire in front. The "pioneer" tools (axe and shovel) which were carried on the MB's driver side were transferred to the passenger side of this vehicle.[4]


Willys MC left versus MB right
Rear of M38 jeep
  • Wheelbase: 80 in (2.03 m)
  • Length overall: 132+1516 in (3.38 m) [5]
  • Width, minimum: 62 in (1.57 m)
  • Height overall: maximum 74 in (1.88 m) with top up; reducible to 55 in (1.40 m) [6]
  • Ground clearance: 9+14 in (0.23 m) at the rear axle
  • Empty weight: 2,625 pounds (1,191 kg)
  • Gross vehicle weight: 3,825 pounds (1,735 kg) on road [7]
  • Payload: 1,200 pounds (544 kg) on road / 800 pounds (363 kg) off-road. [6]


  • Displacement: 134.2 cubic inches (2,199 cc)[2]
  • Bore/Stroke: 3+18 in × 4+38 in (79 mm × 111 mm)[2]
  • Compression Ratio: 6.48:1
  • Power: 60 hp (45 kW) at 4000 rpm[2]
  • Torque: 105 lb⋅ft (142 N⋅m) at 2000 rpm[2]
  • Main Bearings: 3[citation needed]
  • Carburetor: Carter YS 637S, 1+14 in (32 mm) downdraft[8]


The entire engine air intake and the axle system was fully vented to allow for operation while submerged under water. Its full-floating front axle (Dana 25) was supported by the wheel hub, rather than the axle itself, and provided greater load capacity. The rear axle (Dana 44) was semi-floating. Its drivetrain was the L-head 134.2 cu in (2.2 L) with a T-90 transmission and the Dana 18 transfer case.

A few M38 Jeeps were fitted with a transmission power take-off (PTO) driven winch. This feature was not used in regular production models due to increased weight on the front of the vehicle, as well as additional maintenance requirements.

M38 with hood and top up

Electrical system[edit]

The electrical system was upgraded to a 24 volt system which required dual 12 volt batteries connected in series. Its ignition and electrical systems were waterproof; a valuable feature in rainy environments and where deep river fording was necessary.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Nominal off-road payload rating — real payload rating was over 500 kg (1,100 lb) on road; and off-road 38th of a ton.




  • Brown, Arch (1994). Jeep: The Unstoppable Legend. Lincolnwood, IL US: Publications International. p. 64. ISBN 0-7853-0870-9.

Technical manuals[edit]

External links[edit]