Friday, December 8th at 1:00pm, Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial (MNVM) invited everyone to join us as the students from Perryville Area Career and Technology Center (PACTC) officially presented the keys to a restored 1954 M38A1 Willy’s Jeep that will be on permanent display at MNVM.
Instructor Carl Burr and students in the automotive collision repair technology program at PACTC began the restoration of the Jeep more than two years ago. The initial plan was for the students to make some dent repairs and repaint the donated Jeep so it could join the other displays at the national memorial. Once the students in the 3-hour block classes started the work, it became apparent that the vehicle needed more extensive repairs, Burr said. “The jeep actually had a lot of rusted out panels, including a frame rail that had to be manufactured,” he said. “All this additional damage meant reassessment, consultation, and a new process of repair timeline.” The process entailed removal of all the exterior and interior body paint, cutting out rust, manufacturing and welding in patch panels, manufacturing a frame rail, sealing the repaired panels, and extensive painting,” Burr said. “After reassembly, we were able to add the decals, stars, designation insignia, etc.” Burr said he and his students hated to see the Jeep leave the shop after the final wipe down. “But we stood proud knowing we had accomplished a worthy task which brought us all a sense of unparalleled satisfaction,” he said.
The fully restored Jeep made its first public appearance at the Perry County School District 32 Veterans Day Ceremony before being moved to Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial’s museum.
“To say we are excited to receive the finalized Jeep is an understatement, the students and staff have worked so very hard, and all their efforts are truly invaluable. As we know, today’s youth are our leaders and more importantly our Veterans of tomorrow. This project helps further our mission of educating all our visitors about the history of service members and to give a glimpse
of the equipment used by our nation’s heroes. I enjoyed the presentation by the students and sharing this moment with the MNVM Board Members, staff, volunteers, and mostly all my fellow Veterans. “ Rae Lynn Munoz, Executive Director of Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial.
What is a 1954 M38A1 Willy’s Jeep?
The 1954 Willys M38A1, commonly known as the M38A1 or G758, was a military jeep designed for use by the United States Armed Forces. It was manufactured by Willys Motors, which later became part of Kaiser Jeep and eventually Jeep Corporation. The M38A1 was the successor to the World War II-era Willys MB and Ford GPW jeeps and represented an evolution in design.
Here are some key features and characteristics of the 1954 M38A1 Willys Jeep:
- Introduction and Production:
- The M38A1 was introduced in 1952 and saw production until 1957. It was the first Jeep to feature a rounded front-fender design.
- The vehicle was initially produced by Willys Motors and later by Kaiser Jeep after they acquired Willys.
- The M38A1 had a longer wheelbase compared to its predecessor, providing a more stable and comfortable ride.
- The rounded front fenders and a one-piece windshield distinguished it from earlier Jeep models.
- The body design was more modern and practical, with a larger grille and a sturdier overall structure.
- Engine and Performance:
- The M38A1 was powered by the Willys Hurricane F-134 inline-four engine, which had a displacement of 2.2 liters (134 cubic inches).
- The engine produced around 72 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque.
- It featured a 24-volt electrical system.
- Transmission and 4WD:
- The standard transmission was a three-speed manual gearbox.
- Like its predecessors, the M38A1 featured a part-time four-wheel-drive system, making it highly capable off-road.
- Military Service:
- The M38A1 served in various branches of the U.S. military and was used extensively in the Korean War and later in the early years of the Vietnam War.
- It was utilized for reconnaissance, troop transport, and various other military applications.
- Civilian Versions:
- Civilian versions of the M38A1 were also produced under the CJ-5 (Civilian Jeep 5) model name. These were sold to the public and offered as versatile off-road vehicles.
- The M38A1 is regarded as a classic military jeep and is appreciated by collectors and enthusiasts for its rugged design and historical significance.
- Its influence can be seen in subsequent Jeep models, as the CJ-5, in particular, continued the Jeep legacy of off-road capability and durability.
Overall, the 1954 M38A1 Willys Jeep played a crucial role in the post-World War II era, serving as a reliable and versatile military vehicle and laying the foundation for the civilian Jeep models that followed.