Without WWII the birth of the jeep
would most likely not have happened!
The Willys MB model is what started it
all. As World War II was heating up in 1941, the United States
Military awarded automaker Willys-Overland a contract to produce
16,000 MB models for just under $740 a piece — equivalent to about
$12,840 per unit in 2019, after adjusting for inflation.
Following WWII, the United States
Military and its allies had thousands of left-over Willys MBs. Some
of the left-over MBs were sold as surplus; others were left behind
for civilians to use overseas.
Sadly, most of the left-over Willys MBs
from WWII ended up at the bottom of the ocean. The U.S. Military had
no choice but to dump most of its heavy equipment to make room for
hundreds of thousands of homebound troops.
Additionally, returning all that
equipment to the United States would have hurt the economy by
flooding the market with cheap, ex-Army alternatives to trucks,
bulldozers, and Jeeps that Americans would have otherwise had to
But as far as Jeeps go, the Korean
War had another huge impact on the history of the jeep.
Between the end of WWII and the
beginning of the Korean War, Willys-Overland started making
“Civilian” Jeeps known as the CJ-2A and CJ-3A models. But as
international tensions rose again leading up to the Korean War in
1950, Willys upgraded the CJ-3A for war-use, calling the militarized
version the M38.
Willys produced more than 60,000 M38s
before completely overhauling the design in 1952, upgrading it once
more with an even newer name: the M38A1. The M38A1 Jeep was more
spacious than the M38 model, and a more powerful F-head engine
replaced the M38's L-head motor. This bumped the Jeep’s horsepower
up from 60 to 72.
Between 1952 and
1963, over 90,000 M38A1 units were manufactured, and it was this
design that went on to become the prototype for the now famous CJ5
Jeep model in 1954. The M38A1 Jeep design is what ultimately set the
stage for the modern-day Civilian Jeep market.
learning about Jeep history?
So do we — but we love working on
Jeeps more than anything! Army Jeep Parts is the best provider of
pump repair services and transmission
repair services because we’re as obsessed with these
war machines as you are.
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