The M38 was the first post war jeep produced for the Canadian military, replacing the aging Willys MB and Ford GPW used during the second world war. Using many lessons learned out in the field and improvements in technology, yet it was not a huge upgrade from the previous version. Several new features included standardized parts which was a new concept for the day. Many of the parts for the engine for example where the same used for other small engine applications. You could take the generator (called an alternator today) and starter and also use them on an electric generator that produces power. Same goes for several other parts on the M38.
The M38 was first produced in 1950 but was quickly replaced in 1952 by the M38A1. While the M38 was seen as a move in the right direction for the jeep, it was one which was never fully realized. The M38A1 was a realization of that dream of the true jeep. The changes found in the M38A1 could be seen right away starting with the body. It had a more rounded, contoured body, compared to the previous models. But the real improvements were found under the body, including new suspension, frame, higher weight capacity and the much needed larger engine.
With the new upgrades came much praise for the M38A1. Not only did the troops love the new designed vehicle as it was much more powerful and comfortable, so did the mechanics that worked on them. Due to the new upgrades many of the problems found with the previous models disappeared entirely. That and the new standardized part system made working on them, a dream come true.
The M38A1 was later replaced by the M151 MUTT for the regular forces for the Canadian military. But was still used well on until the 1980's by the reserves until it was completely retired and replaced by the Bombardier Iltis.
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