Initially, military Jeeps and vehicles did not have vehicle identification numbers (VINs). These didn't come around until 1954, when the civilian market took off. But that doesn't mean these Jeeps were unidentifiable. Nowadays, having a vintage Jeep is like holding a treasure, so identifying its signature markings can open the door to the vehicle's mission and purpose. Here are a few quick ways to tell if your Jeep was used in the military!
The passenger glovebox door will have three plates. This is one of the easiest ways to check to confirm your Jeep. The center of the three plates will contain the Willys’ name, the serial number, the model, and the delivery date. If you see model GPW or MB, it's a military model, and a CJ would be a civilian Jeep.
Thoroughly examine the engine. A stamped serial number should be present on the engine blow, which is located on the passenger side of the engine's framework. It would be located behind the oil canister and below the cylinder's head. It's also possible the number is buried in grease from all the years of use and shuffling, so wipe the engine block off with a towel.
On World War II Jeeps, the spot with the number could be anywhere between half an inch to two inches in length. Compared to civilian Jeeps, this marking can go up to four inches.
Spark Plug Mount
The spark plug mount is another quick way to tell if your Jeep was used in the military and often tells the story of its exact usage dates. Refer to the windshield if the spark plug mount is at the top of the head. Should your windshield be a single piece, confirm the spare tire mount. If the spare tire is on the passenger side quarter panel, your Jeep is most likely a 1949-1953 CJ-3A model.
Sometimes the tires are on the tailgate panel, and these Jeep models are typically 1950-1952 M38s. If the spark plugs are at a 45-degree angle on the block, they came between 1953 and 1971.
To learn more about Jeep identification and original 1964 Willys Jeep parts, reach out to us at Army Jeep Parts. We work with hobbyists, enthusiasts, and collectors to ensure all your vintage Jeeps meet military standards.