Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:06 pm Post subject: Looking for some market info for 1953 M38A1 that I may buy?
I am a classic car dealer and a customer of mine has a 1953 M38A1 that appears to be in fantastic condition. Here is info he provided.
"I own a 1953 M38A1 (s/n 51288) military Jeep. I bought it in 1997 having found it in front of a hobby shop (on blocks) in an inside mall in Oklahome City. Original mileage at the time was was 3,820. I It was a Reserve Jeep and has never (to the best of my knowledge) been used "off road". Certainly not since I have owned it.
I replaced the 4-cylinder F head engine at about 5,000 miles rather than going to the trouble of rebuilding it (it sat too long). Installed a heater in the cabin. It came with a canvas top and I added side curtains and doors. I have the original multi-directional tires still mounted on the correct wheels. A number of years ago I mounted radial tires on correctly painted wheels so that that it rides well on hard surfaces. Added a clock on the instrument panel. It has the original military driver's instruction manual. A lot of other work under the hood. A fun driving vehicle with Marine Corps lettering that I added (as a former Marine).
It has the original patina as they say. A few Q-tip size marks from carrying golf clubs (which I have retouched by hand). No rust. Everything works. Very nice finish."
If any of you can help me to determine what the ball park retail price range is for this I would really appreciate it. IF you want to see pictures I can email them, just let me know your email address.
Pictures are an absolute must for any appraisal attempt. Also some important information needed is:
1-Was it restored and if it was when and by whom?
2-What major components have actually been overhauled or rebuilt and when and by whom. IE axles, transmission, transfer case, brakes, engine.
3-Is the complete 24 volt waterproof electrical and ignition system still in the jeep?
4-What civilian mods have been performed on the jeep? IE heater lights etc.
5-What is the history of the jeep from 1953 to present?
6-Condition of metal and paint?
7-If repainted by civilian owner, what color and when?
8-Mileage on odometers is actually useless on these old jeeps. Does the seller have any idea what the actual mileage may be?
9-Is it streetable right now? IE steers, stops, runs fine and all lights and horn work.
10-Does it have a marketable title ? Does the serial number on the title match the serial number on the dash mounted serial plate and the patent plate mounted to the front end of the right rear wheel house behind the passenger seat?
Rather then email photos to a dozen folks I have opened an album fore you here on our web site. Load all your photos there and all can see them.
Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:14 pm Post subject: Added 32 pictures to my album
Thanks very much for guiding me through this. I believe I have successfully added 32 pics of this Jeep for members to get a good luck at it.
Here is what I know in answer to your other questions:
Although not a full restoration, it had a ton of work done by Howie Bearse on Cape Cod. Over $8000 spent on various items. Although the original motor only had 4000 miles on it, it had not been run in years and rather then rebuild it a complete rebuilt correct 4 cylinder F head that was completely rebuilt by Howie Bearse was installed.
I believe it still has the complete 24 volt electrical system.
Some of the civilian mods are as follows:
Installed a heater in the cabin. It came with a canvas top and I added side curtains and doors. I have the original multi-directional tires still mounted on the correct wheels. A number of years ago I mounted radial tires on correctly painted wheels so that that it rides well on hard surfaces. Added a clock on the instrument panel. It has the original military driver's instruction manual. A lot of other work under the hood. A fun driving vehicle with Marine Corps lettering that I added (as a former Marine).
It has the original patina as they say. A few Q-tip size marks from carrying golf clubs (which I have retouched by hand). No rust. Everything works. Very nice finish.
It is very streetable right now and everything works.
It does have a marketable title and I believe the serial numbers match
I hope this info and the pics will help everyone to give me their educated guess of the value of this particular Jeep.
Well I have reviewed the photos. I still need a couple of my original questions answered to be more accurate in my evaluation of the jeep but here are my observations:
1953 M38A1 FS
Observations from photos
1-Late military transistorized turn signal system added.
2-Clock added to dash
3-Unusual metal plate added above instrument cluster.
4-Rust pits showing in passenger seat frame.
5-Civilian keyed ignition switch replaces military switch.
6-Civilian universal heater added on passenger floor.
7-Two left side tail light assemblies used for turn signal conversion.
8-Square rear view side mirror heads and left side mirror added.
9-Rear view mirror added to top center windshield.
10-Correct seats with good quality canvas duck covers.
11-Rear floor appears solid with very few serious dents.
12-Wiring appears mostly original except for the added turn signals.
14-Civilian locking drive hubs added.
15-Civilian street tires and late Kaiser wheels. (Owner says 4 NDCC's & original wheels come with)
16-Correct spare tire and wheel.
17-Separate amber lamps added up front for turn signals.
18-Paint color is Army 24087 which is late 1954 & on field applied color and not the original Willys applied 2430. Also USMC would have been Marine Corp Forrest Green.
Overall floor paint indicates the jeep was not stripped or blasted prior to painting.
19-Instruments are original except the volt meter & ODO reads 10,594.7.
20-Looks like correct early narrow bumper, fastener battery lid, frame and hinged grill.
21-Has been updated to replacement military transistorized 24V 25A voltage regulator.
22-Stowage brackets for the top bows are missing.
23-Dash serial plate shows MD51288 Jul 53.
24-Responsible agency plate shows the jeep was initially issued to the Army.
25-From the holes remaining in both quarter panels and the wheel house tops the jeep most likely was a radio unit.
All and all a very solid unrestored jeep. I say unrestored because it has not had any repairs made to remove the obvious non-stock items like the old radio equipment holes and etc. as well as the lack of complete stripping or blasting of the sheet metal before painting.
The replacement engine serial is not shown. If this is not an MDXXXXXX serial then that makes a small difference.
I would still need to have answers to my original questions #2 & #9 to make an accurate evaluation of the jeep.
A wild guess at this point would be $7000 to $9000 depending on operating condition, location and the remaining answers needed.
Joined: Apr 18, 2005 Posts: 458 Location: Rhode Island
Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:00 pm Post subject: unusual metal plate
The unusual metal plate added over the instrument cluster is brass " Bell Housing Drain plug stowed in glove box install before fording remover after fording."
I am familiar with Howie Bearse - do you have any information regarding the "replaced rings" tape in the glove box from 2007? Do you have confirmation that the engine was replaced vs repaired?
If the engine was replaced you'll want to confirm that the serial number begins with MDxxxx. This indicates a military engine. Many of the M38A1 have civilian replacement engines which are identical in function.
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