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1952 Willys M38 - Flat Luck

Posted in Project Vehicles on April 1, 2008 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Rand RidgesRick Pewe
Cool Fact:
By most accounts the m38 is known to be the last real flatfender of its time.

Some of the greatest and strangest things that happen in life are a stroke of luck. A perfect example of this is our buddy and wheeling enthusiast, rand ridges. In the spring of 2000, ridges just happened onto an estate sale of a lifetime, the kind where you buy the hammer in the garage you're stuck with the rest of the garage contents as well. For most of us this means old baby toys, a few rusty wrenches, and about a day's worth of hassle, but when the garage is filled with six '44-'68 jeeps and flatfenders, well, then you're one lucky guy.

Ridges dedicated five years of hard work and jeep know-how into removing the body off of one of the crown jewels of the collection, a '52 willys m38 so he could fit atop a '68 cj-5 frame that was also part of the collection. Having always said that flatfenders are to jeeping what the rolling stones are to rock music. Years and years have gone by and they're still there," it was no surprise when ridges opted to keep the old rig as stock-looking as possible, but outfit it with a few modern accessories to help it survive the trail. Built for the warm orange utah sandstone, the jeep was outfitted with a unique fiber-flex spring setup that would allow ridges to keep flattie low and stable for those off-camber climbs and obstacles. Even with the stance the flatfender maintains 6-7 inches of wheel travel to keep the 35-inch mt/ firmly planted on the terra firma for when he's ready to tackle the twisty stuff.

Although a mix of old and new, one thing's for sure: this little rig is all willys at heart. We're still not sure how he lucked out with so many cool rigs, but we're sure glad he did.

Drivetrain
Engine: '68 Buick V-6 225ci odd fire
Transmission: T-98A
Transfer Case: Dana 18
Front Axle: '74 Dana 44 narrowed to 54 inches, ArB Air locker, 4.88 gears
Rear Axle: TeraFlex Adventure Series 44 full-float, Dutchman motorsports custom 33- to 35-spline 1.5-inch alloy shafts, Detroit locker, 4.88 gears

Suspension
Springs & Such: Spring-over with TeraFlex Fiberflex Springs, custom perch mounts
Tires & Wheels: 35x12.50 mT/rs on 15x7s
Other Stuff: CJ-5 frame, custom bumpers, ramsey 9,000-pound winch, griffi n aluminum radiator, military dash plates, trimmed and plated rear fenders, custom cage

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