What Model Military Jeep?

MB, GPW, Bantam BRC-40, M38, Mighty Mite, or MUTT? This price  guide will help you determine what vintage of military Jeep you are looking at, and what it might be worth.
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Line up of jeeps that include an M422 Mighty Mite, M38A1, M151, and an M151A2

quaWhat model Jeep?  To the uninitiated, they may all look alike. But any Jeep enthusiast will tell you these military 4x4s have a lot more differences than commonalities! 

Most Americans have a picture in their mind when they hear the phrase "army jeep." However, like most collector arenas, military jeeps have their nuances that will make one olive drab four-wheel-drive "truck" worth tens of thousands while another may only be worth a couple of thousand. This photo guide will tell you if your jeep is worth a box of rations or a complete weekend pass.

Bantam BRC-40

BRC-40 restored by Chet Krause.

BRC-40 restored by Chet Krause. 

American Bantam Car Co. supplied 2,675 BRC-40's to the U.S. Army for testing in early 1941. A two-piece windshield, flat-hood and a "slat" grille with headlights set into fenders are identifying characteristics of BRC-40's. These are rare vehicles and, if restored to original configuration (including the correct Continental Y-4112 four-cylinder engine), will sell for $60,000+.

Willys MA

Willys MA restored by Chet Krause.

Willys MA restored by Chet Krause. The embossed "WILLYS" above the grille is the most obvious identifying feature.

The MA was Willys followup to the company's initial prototype of 1940 — The Quad. The MA featured a flat hood, full-length front fenders with headlights mounted, and a column-shift transmission. Willys built 1,553 MAs from June 5, 1941, through September 23, 1941. MAs are very rare in the United States. Even outside the country, a restored MA is an "over-$60,000" purchase.

Ford GP

1941 GP in autumn leaves owned by Dan Plank.

1941 GP owned by Dan Plank. 

The "GP" was Ford's entry into the bid to procure the government contract for a 1/4-ton, four-wheel-drive truck in early 1941. Contrary to popular legend, "GP" does not standard for "general purpose." Rather, it is a combination of Ford code letters: "g," indicating a government contract vehicle, and "p," indicating an 80-inch wheelbase reconnaissance car. A total of 4,458 GP's were built, including 50 of which were equipped with four-wheel steering. A welded slat grille that incorporates the headlights under the hood and an embossed Ford script on the left rear panel are hallmarks of the GP. Expect to pay $30,000+ for a restored, non-four-wheel-steer GP.

Even though all four tires are pointed straight ahead, the steering linkage running below reveals this is one of about 50 four-wheel steering GPs.

Even though all four tires are pointed straight ahead, the steering linkage running below reveals this is one of about 50 four-wheel steering GPs.

Willys MB "Slat Grille"

Willys MB "slat grille" Jeep owned by Louis Larson.

Willys MB "slat grille" Jeep owned by Louis Larson. 

After Willys fulfilled its initial Army contract of 1,500 vehicles in 1941, it received a second order for an improved version of its 1/4-ton truck, which it called the "MB." Early MB's featured a grille made of welded flat bar stock. Another feature of the "Slat Grille Willys" is the embossed Willys logo in the left rear panel. Prices for a restored Slat Grille Willys run from $15,000-$22,500.

MB/GPW

1942 Ford GPW Jeep owned by Brevan Addington.

1942 Ford GPW Jeep owned by Brevan Addington.

As World War II progressed, the U.S. government wanted its two jeep suppliers -- Ford and Willys -- to standardize production so that the parts could be used for either. The result was a jeep with a stamped grille. Ford's version was designated as the "GPW," and Willys' as the "MB." Stamped logos on the rear panels continued only through July 1942 when the government deemed it inappropriate for a manufacturer to advertise on goods produced for the military. A restored MB or GPW driver will run $15,000-$20,500.

Willys MB with "stamped grille," date of delivery: 11-21-1942. Restored by Ralph Doubek

Willys MB with "stamped grille," date of delivery:  11-21-1942. Restored by Ralph Doubek

Ford GPA

1943 Ford GPA restored by Phil Nelson

1943 Ford GPA restored by Phil Nelson

At the request of the Quartermaster Corps, Ford worked with the National Defense Research Council to develop an amphibious 1/4-ton truck. The GPA shares the same type engine, transmission, transfer case, and axles with its land-locked sibling, the GPW. Ford built 12,778s GPAs by the end of its contract in 1943. Today, amphibious vehicles are in high demand. A GPA in #1 condition can sell for more than $150,000. 

Willys M38

M38 Jeep with distinctive headlights with guards and gas filler cap near the driver's seat.

M38 Jeep with distinctive headlights with guards and gas filler cap near the driver's seat. 

Between 1950 and 1952, Willys produced more than 45,000 Model MC jeeps, commonly known as the "M38." At first glance, an M38 looks like a World War II MB/GPW, but there are significant differences. An M38 is slightly larger than its World War II counterpart. The fuel filler was mounted on the outside of the body, instead of under the driver's seat. Most obvious though, is the one-piece windshield (the World War II jeeps had two-piece windshields) and the protruding headlights, usually with a protective bar in front of each. An M38 in restored, driving condition will sell for $14,500-$19,500.

Willys CJ-V35/U

A not fully-restored example of the CJ-V35U.

A not fully-restored example of the CJ-V35U. 

In February 150, the Department of the Navy contracted with Willys-Overland to build 1,000 CJ-V35/U quarter-ton trucks that it intended to be used by the Marines as communication vehicles. The CJ-V35/U looks a lot like a civilian CJ-3A. Differences, however, include the unique headlight bezel combat rims, and a 12-volt auxiliary generator mounted between the front seats to power radio equipment. Instead of a back seat, the CJ-V35/U has a radio cabinet. The electrical system was waterproofed and the Jeep came with provisions for deep-water fording. A fully restored example with all the accessories will sell for at least $22,000. 

Willys M38A1

The distinctive "round" front fenders are the distinctive trademark of the M38A1 Jeep.

The distinctive "round" front fenders are the distinctive trademark of the M38A1 Jeep. 

In 1952, Willys-Overland Motors began production of the Model MD or "M38A1." Equipped with the new F-head "Hurricane" engine, the M38A1 is characterized with a hinged front grille (to facilitate engine and transmission removal), narrower front bumper and, most noticeably, curved or "round" fenders. U.S. and foreign sales accounted for more than 100,000 M38A1's when domestic production ended in 1957. Restored, running M38A1's command prices from $12,500-18,000.

M38A1 in USAF "stata blue" livery, restored by Tim and Sue King.

M38A1 in USAF "stata blue" livery, restored by Tim and Sue King. 

M151

This 1962 Ford is owned by Larry and Bonita Elsasser and was restored by MV Specialities.

Ford began delivery of the M151 in March 1960. In 1952, Willys Motors underbid Ford and began production of 14,625 vehicles. This 1962 Ford is owned by Larry and Bonita Elsasser and was restored by MV Specialities. 

Between 1960 and 1988, Ford, Willys, Kaiser Jeep Corp. and AM General all produced Military Utility Tactical Trucks (MUTTs). Designated the M151 (with subsequent versions labeled "M151A1" and "M151A2"), MUTT's can be recognized by the horizontal slat grille and unibody construction. Parade-ready M151s usually sell for $13,500-$20,500.

The the marker lights in the "scooped-out" front fenders are distinctive of the M151A2. This 1970 M151A2 Ford was restored by Doug Diedrich.

The the marker lights in the "scooped-out" front fenders are distinctive of the M151A2. This  1970 M151A2 Ford was restored by Doug Diedrich.

M422

Only 1,2500 M442s were made. It is six inches shorter than the M422A1.

Only 1,2500 M442s were made. It is six inches shorter than the M422A1. 

Resembling a miniature jeep, the M422 was designed for the U.S. Marine Corps to fill the need of a small, lightweight, very maneuverable truck. Labeled the "Mighty-Mite," the 1/4-ton truck came in two versions: the 65-inch wheelbase M422 and the 71-inch wheelbase M422A1. Between 1959-'62, American Motors Corp. built 3,922 Mighty-Mites. Each one featured an aluminum body and an aluminum air-cooled 108-cid V-4 engine. Parade-ready M422s and variants sell for $13,500-$19,500.

The M422A1 has an additional reinforcing rib forward of the rear tire.

The M422A1 has an additional reinforcing rib forward of the rear tire. Paul Sanders restored this Mighty Mite.

Cover of the 2020 Bonus issue of Military Vehicles Magazine

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