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1966 CJ-5 to M38A1 Clone Build

Flyboy207

Member
33
74
18
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
Hello all,

Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction here, I’m hoping to reverse-engineer a unit number and registration number for my project. Does anyone have a listing of units stationed at Camp San Luis Obispo (or Camp Roberts) which I could formulate bumper numbers for? I’d like a local touch on my Jeep, and I need to get the info soon so I can tell the people I’m buying paint masks from what to send me.

Thank you!
 

DeetFreek

Well-known member
216
348
63
Location
New Sharon IA
Hello all,

Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction here, I’m hoping to reverse-engineer a unit number and registration number for my project. Does anyone have a listing of units stationed at Camp San Luis Obispo (or Camp Roberts) which I could formulate bumper numbers for? I’d like a local touch on my Jeep, and I need to get the info soon so I can tell the people I’m buying paint masks from what to send me.

Thank you!

Current listing of stationed units there:
Screenshot_20220508-084057_Chrome.jpg
 

DeetFreek

Well-known member
216
348
63
Location
New Sharon IA
Thanks DeetFreek!
I can definitely look up some markings for those units. Is there a way to also look up what would have been there in the ‘50s?
For poops and giggles I had went to the wiki page for the Camp during my initial search, there's nothing really listed unit wise for the 50's, only the WWII era units.
 

Flyboy207

Member
33
74
18
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
Still chipping away at it, my scratch-built wiring harness is finished and installed. Soldering the connectors was a learning experience, but enjoyable overall.
8092E2C1-319A-44E2-B4D8-60E81203B5E7.jpeg

The turn signal unit is working pretty well, I replaced the 24V bulb with a 12 volt one and just ran the flasher unit wires into a civilian 2-pole flasher. It works, but the flash frequency changes. Might try a different unit. Converted front blackout lights-turned-signal are working too. I installed a horn button where the hand throttle would have been, since the Saginaw box conversion won’t allow the wire through the column anymore.
B130BCC8-4681-4C53-BBA9-052A3FE1A4AF.jpeg

Overall, it’s coming together well. I see a lot of imperfections in the paint and fitment that other people don’t, but oh well. Paint masks are the next step, then the 16” wheels and NDCC’s go on, brakes get bled and it’s off to the exhaust shop so I don’t have to break in the engine on open manifolds.
4B38CF07-8B3A-48BD-B89E-498640E60E33.jpeg
Looking forward to actually driving this thing!
 

msgjd

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
919
2,884
93
Location
upstate ny
You have done an incredibly-faithful clone, much more intense than I ever had patience for... Instead of building an A1 clone, about 30 years ago I built what is dash-tagged an XM38A5... It has my old crusty trusty '75 CJ5 as the base, which I bought near-new.. Because I did a lot of long interstate road trips towing loaded jeep trailers and quite a bit of intermittent on-off road activities with it, I kept it's 232 (now 258ci) straight 6, with its original grannygear 4sp tranny and orig transfer case with the hidden low range 2-wheel drive... (i forget the model nums) .. We kept the orig frame and axles intact but did a number of militarized body modifications.. (including flattening and covering the "Jeep" fender embosses).. At the time we had an M135 parts truck but very few M38A1 parts.. The M135 provided the needed electrical items and wiring harness.. The 135's gauge cluster was installed which gave us a spot for an extra fuel gauge instead of air press.. We kept the stock rear tank, added an underseat tank, and cut the panel for a M38A1 fillerneck housing... The "jeep" tailgate and hinges were removed and instead we fabricated a pair of slide-up channels, narrowed a pioneer tool carrier to fit, and welded 1/8" steel sheet to cover the carrier's backside. An M38A1 spare carrier was mounted on the drivers rear (opposite, I know) and the jerrycan holder was mounted on the right to detract from the orig tank filler cap below it.. On the adjacent corner a complete 1950's M38/38A1 antenna setup was installed including radio mount on top of right inner fender, no rear seat as it's usually carrying stuff.. Rear bumper area got dressed with all the necessary parts including M38A1 bumperettes, tow rings, and the orig rear lights replaced with a matching pair of 1950's Stop/Tail/Directional/BO lights in the typical A1 low position... The orig wide front bumper was retained but M38A1 tow rings installed, frame extensions fabricated for a between-frame pto winch, and the ends angled identical to M44-series and M39/M809 front bumpers. (artistic license ;) ) ..... The original grille was retained because the large directional/marker holes were perfect to mount the M135's front lamp housings with the lense covers flush, not recessed, as are the M135's old headlight cans/rings, in a look reminisce of straight M38's and M151's .. (another artistic license utilized ;) ) .. Of course a M38/38A1 BO drive lamp sits on the fender, no jeep looks right without one.. Steering column keyset hole was ground flush, holes blanked out, got the typical hose-clamp military directional switch, Dash got the obligatory B/O light switch, Accessory Switch, and M44/M39-type pushbutton for starter. Battery was kept under hood but an A1's cover was permanently bolted down where one would be... Due to the high-speed useage of the jeep, the windshield frame and wipers were not replaced but a "split" divider was fabricated to give it the look.. For a time when we were doing river running, it sported a M135 stack just ahead of the windshield as on M44/M39/M809, which looked great, especially on cold mornings streaming a long white cloud rearward .. Sorry I don't have any pics handy at this time.... As mentioned, you certainly have built a faithful beautiful clone which will likely fool the experts at first glance !!
 
Last edited:

Flyboy207

Member
33
74
18
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
You have done an incredibly-faithful clone, much more intense than I ever had patience for... Instead of building an A1 clone, about 30 years ago I built what is dash-tagged an M38A5... It has my old crusty trusty '75 CJ5 as the base, which I bought near-new.. Because I did a lot of long interstate road trips towing loaded jeep trailers and quite a bit of intermittent on-off road activities with it, I kept it's 232 (now 258ci) straight 6, with its original grannygear 4sp tranny and orig transfer case with the hidden low range 2-wheel drive... (i forget the model nums) .. We kept the orig frame and axles intact but did a number of militarized body modifications.. (including flattening and covering the "Jeep" fender embosses).. At the time we had an M135 parts truck but very few M38A1 parts.. The M135 provided the needed electrical items and wiring harness.. The 135's gauge cluster was installed which gave us a spot for an extra fuel gauge instead of air press.. We kept the stock rear tank, added an underseat tank, and cut the panel for a M38A1 fillerneck housing... The "jeep" tailgate and hinges were removed and instead we fabricated a pair of slide-up channels, narrowed a pioneer tool carrier to fit, and welded 1/8" steel sheet to cover the carrier's backside. An M38A1 spare carrier was mounted on the drivers rear (opposite, I know) and the jerrycan holder was mounted on the right to detract from the orig tank filler cap below it.. On the adjacent corner a complete 1950's M38/38A1 antenna setup was installed including radio mount on top of right inner fender, no rear seat as it's usually carrying stuff.. Rear bumper area got dressed with all the necessary parts including M38A1 bumperettes, tow rings, and the orig rear lights replaced with a matching pair of 1950's Stop/Tail/Directional/BO lights in the typical A1 low position... The orig wide front bumper was retained but M38A1 tow rings installed, frame extensions fabricated for a between-frame pto winch, and the ends angled identical to M44-series and M39/M809 front bumpers. (artistic license ;) ) ..... The original grille was retained because the large directional/marker holes were perfect to mount the M135's front lamp housings with the lense covers flush, not recessed, as are the M135's old headlight cans/rings, in a look reminisce of straight M38's and M151's .. (another artistic license utilized ;) ) .. Of course a M38/38A1 BO drive lamp sits on the fender, no jeep looks right without one.. Steering column keyset hole was ground flush, holes blanked out, got the typical hose-clamp military directional switch, Dash got the obligatory B/O light switch, Accessory Switch, and M44/M39-type pushbutton for starter. Battery was kept under hood but an A1's cover was permanently bolted down where one would be... Due to the high-speed useage of the jeep, the windshield frame and wipers were not replaced but a "split" divider was fabricated to give it the look.. For a time when we were doing river running, it sported a M135 stack just ahead of the windshield as on M44/M39/M809, which looked great, especially on cold mornings streaming a long white cloud rearward .. Sorry I don't have any pics handy at this time.... As mentioned, you certainly have built a faithful beautiful clone which will likely fool the experts at first glance !!
Thanks msgjd! I chose to leave my tailgate for functionality, and I kept the “Jeep” script on the sides so that it could never be passed off as a real MV. I’m not sure how I’m going to mount the spare and Jerry can yet, I guess that will be a problem for later.
 

JEB

Active member
125
131
43
Location
Colbert, WA
Last year you asked about markings and hood numbers.

In researching my anonymous M38A1, I stumbled across a suggestion from a Jeep military vehicle guy...make the last 5 digits of the hood number correspond to the Willys serial (Easy on my USAF-marked Jeep with the fiscal year number ,then the vehicle mission code (K...Military, General Purpose) followed by relatively short AF Serial numbers).
Like you keeping the "Jeep" script on the tub, it will help prevent future misunderstandings.

Great job.
 
Last edited:

Flyboy207

Member
33
74
18
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
Last year you asked about markings and hood numbers.

In researching my anonymous M38A1, I stumbled across a suggestion from a Jeep MV guy...make the last 5 digits of the hood number correspond to the Willys serial (Easy on my USAF-marked Jeep with the fiscal year number they vehicle mission code followed by relatively short numbers).
Like you keeping the "Jeep" script on the tub, it will help prevent future misunderstandings.

Great job.
Hi Jeb, thanks! Here are the markings I decided to go with:
20179464
40Δ-1-144F D-7
Intended unit: Vehicle 7, Battery D, 1st Battalion, 144th Field Artillery, 40th Armored Division.
I hope it’s a valid marking for a Jeep. I was going for a 1967 CA National Guard vehicle, since we have two camps near me. I wanted to utilize Camp Roberts or Camp San Luis Obispo markings specifically, but had trouble finding accurate information about the units stationed there during the 50’s-60’s. The hood number is the 20- prefix plus the Kaiser serial number, as you suggested.
 

Flyboy207

Member
33
74
18
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
A quick update for everyone:

It runs! We did the main engine break in a couple of weeks ago, and I got to drive it up the driveway this past weekend. I still have finishing touches and tuning to do, but I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I did my best under the hood to make it look correct, but with power steering and a completely incorrect engine, it’s never going to be right. At least I’m getting rid of most of the shiny parts.

Thanks for following along! I’ll post a few more when it’s close to fully done.

CFC2FC4E-BC81-444C-B0FD-FC7295E88026.jpegI

7A34A3FC-9317-45FC-AA92-26FE45EB2120.jpeg
 

msgjd

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
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Location
upstate ny
other than the dash, style of rims, front hubs, and covert AM/FM antenna all upon 2nd look, you had me fooled !!! .,. really nice job !!! I take it you chose non-mil tail lights because of your MV laws there ?
 

Flyboy207

Member
33
74
18
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
Well it’s finally done!
…and now I’m wondering if I made a mistake. It’s a lot of fun to drive, does well on the 4x4 park teeter-totter (see photo!) but I’m not sure I want to beat it up on the trails, and I’d like to rebuild my M715 now. Unfortunately, despite having it listed in multiple places, I haven’t gotten much interest in it. Maybe I’ll just have to keep it, could be worse!
 

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Mullaney

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Steel Soldiers Supporter
Supporting Vendor
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Charlotte NC
Well it’s finally done!
…and now I’m wondering if I made a mistake. It’s a lot of fun to drive, does well on the 4x4 park teeter-totter (see photo!) but I’m not sure I want to beat it up on the trails, and I’d like to rebuild my M715 now. Unfortunately, despite having it listed in multiple places, I haven’t gotten much interest in it. Maybe I’ll just have to keep it, could be worse!
.
Nice looking Jeep.
Interesting that the park has a teeter-totter too!
 
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