Not long after the Second World War ended, the US military became entangled in another foreign conflict, the Korean War. Because of the success of Jeep’s production for World War II, Willys made an effort to join in Korea, and several other upgrades ensued. Here’s a brief overview of Jeeps used in the Korean War and how they evolved.
Willys kickstarted the reproduction of the military Jeep for the Korean War with an upgrade to the CJ-3A. The rename unveiled the M38, which was essentially the CJ-3A with the additions of larger headlights, a one-piece windshield, conventional wipers, and several other enhancements.
The M38 contributed 60,000 units, but by 1952, a few more updates occurred, and the new and improved M38A1 replaced it. Just two years later, the M38A1 would receive significant updates and become the prototype for the now-famous CJ-5.
1955 M38A1 Military Jeep
Compared to the M38, the new model contained a larger wheelbase, and the body was longer by six inches. The M38A1 was also heavier and roomier, and because of a larger gas tank, one could drive longer distances. The motor was previously an L-head, but the M38A1 received an upgrade with an F-head, which boosted its horsepower from 60 to 72.
History of M381
Between 1951 and 1963, Willys manufactured over 90,000 units of the M38A1. The majority of the units saw noncombat circumstances, and as a result, they set the tone for the market for civilian Jeeps.
It’s worth noting that the use of the Willys MB continued through much of the Korean War, in addition to use of the M38 and M38A1 models. An overview of Jeeps used in the Korean War reveals that if it weren’t for the military’s need for innovative machinery, we might never know life with Jeeps.
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