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1952 Jeep kitted out for combat is among US auction gems

on January 3 2019 | in Highlights, Industry news, Latest news | by | with Comments Off

Car collectors and enthusiasts imported more than 1000 used American vehicles into New Zealand last year, records show.

Whether they were bought privately or publicly is a step too far for this story, but feedback indicates that Kiwis are keeping an eye on what’s for sale at the big auction houses, like RM Sothebys.


Among the many rare examples Sothebys lists for sale at its auction in Phoenix, Arizona, on January 17-18 is this 1952 Willys M38 Jeep, kitted out as it would have been for the 1950-53 Korean War.

Willys built more than 60,000 M38 Jeeps for deployment in Korea. The M38 was an upgraded military version of the civilian CJ-3As. Willys improved its water-fording abilities, added larger headlights and a more durable rear axle.


The M38 pictured here is a restored example – right down to engine bay instructions – of those used by the US 45th Infantry Thunderbird Division.

A distressed Korean flag was discovered under the rear seat at the time of restoration and is also included with the Jeep.


Also found on the M38 were three 50-caliber bullet holes. Two were filled in during the restoration, but one was left for display purposes. It’s near the driver’s side rear.

The M38 Jeep comes with an impressive list of accessories, including:

  • M2 50-caliber machine gun, equipped with a simulated firing mechanism
  • Two M1 Garand training rifles
  • Several machetes, bayonets, helmets, side-mounted axe and shovel, and various accessories
  • A number of dormant grenades and ammo
  • Two ‘Jerry’ cans, various ammo cans, and GI duffel bags
  • Tool bag, footlocker, 48-star American flag, US Army flag, and more

A few of the other vehicles in the RM Sothebys sale are shown here. Go to to see all the listings for Phoenix.


1930 Cadillac V16 Sport Phaeton by Fleetwood. One of only 85 built. Reserve: US$750,000-$900,000.



1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 by Scaglietti. Reserve: US$2.8m-$3.2m.




1948 Tucker 48. Reserve: US$1.5m-$1.7m.



1959 Fita Abarth 750 GT ‘Double Bubble’ Zagato. Reserve: US$80,000-$100,000.



1946 Ford Super Deluxe station wagon. Reserve: US$80,000-$110,000.



1986 Ford RS200 Evolution. Reserve: US$500,000-$700,000.


289 Shelby Cobra RM

1963 Shelby 289 Cobra. Reserve: US$725,000-$900,000.


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