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1952 Willy's M38

Front Rock Crawling
Phil Howell | Writer
Posted July 1, 2011

An Old Soldier That Didn’t Just Fade Away

In 1951, when General Douglas MacArthur gave a moving farewell address to Congress, he quoted an old barracks room ballad that included the words, . . . old soldiers never die, they just fade away. Rand Ridges of Centerville, Utah, helped one old soldier, a 1952 M38, to continue its service in mufti by building it into a competent backcountry exploring vehicle.

Rand didn’t let his nostalgia for flatfenders keep him from changing and updating the Jeep. Some of these updates included a narrowed Chevy truck Dana 44 frontend and a Tera CRD 60 rearend, Fiberflex fiberglass leaf springs, a balanced and blueprinted Ford 302 V-8 with Howell TBI fuel injection, Ford C4 automatic transmission, Dana 300 transfer case, a stretched frame and body, etc.

Rand isn’t into show vehicles, so his M38 isn’t pretty, except to those of us who appreciate machines that work well. To us, it’s beautiful. We’re glad Rand helped this old soldier to become young again in the backcountry and push back those years of fading away.


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