Korean War-era Willys Jeep is fit for duty—to the tune of $67K


An amazingly restored 1952 Willys M38 Jeep that spent some time in Korean War service just sold for $67,200 at RM Sotheby’s Scottsdale auction. While WWII-era Jeep MBs have been known to bring six figures on rare occasions, this appears to be the highest price yet for the MB’s successor. It far exceeded its $40K–$50K estimate.

Hagerty valuation specialist Greg Ingold noted that this is “by far the best military Jeep” he’s ever seen, and a full nut-and-bolt restoration left it in far better condition than you’d rightfully expect to find any military Jeep, even when it was new.   

Part of the high price can be attributed to the assortment of era-correct accessories, including surplus canvas gear bag, pouches, and even some armament. A pair of M1 Garand training rifles join another non-firing-firearm, a Browning M2 .50-caliber heavy machine gun converted to simulate live fire by shooting blasts of flame. The quality conversion, nicely concealed, did not look like it came cheaply and had to add considerably to the price bid.

1952 Willys M38 Korean War Jeep side profile
1952 Willys M38 Korean War Jeep RM Sotheby's
1952 Willys M38 Korean War Jeep engine
1952 Willys M38 Korean War Jeep RM Sotheby's

Interestingly, three “.50-caliber bullet holes” were found in the Jeep during its restoration, one of which was left intentionally unpatched. Considering the weapons used by the two sides of the Korean War (not .50-cal), it seems most likely that it was a certain Browning M2 that caused the perforations.  

Although this Korean War survivor offered a number of upgrades compared to its WWII predecessor, it retains the same 134-cubic-inch, 60-horsepower Willys Go-Devil engine. Not terribly impressive motivation by 1950s standards, but the Jeep is light and should be peppy enough to propel the proud veteran along the parade route for many a Veteran’s Days to come.


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