I have a 1953 M38A1 as well and have noted some of the same differences. My
frame has the threaded holes for the hinges on the folding grill, but has a
front crossmember for attaching the fixed grill, which was originally on it,
as far as I can tell. The original tub was pretty rough and I got another
tub as part of the sale. My 1953 tub had the passenger seat holding
brackets and grill support rod tabs. The tub I have on now does not. They
both have the screw down battery compartment cover. This would mean that
the tub I have on now is earlier than what I had. Now here's a question, My
original tub was USMC whereas the tub on now is US Army. My "newer" USMC
tub has a data plate that is stamped and is labeled, Willy's Motor Co., vs.
the "older", which is screened and labeled Willy's-Overland Co., which I
thought happened later. Other differences I have seen, are the placement of
the voltage regulator. On mine, it's at the lower right of the engine
compartment, vs. the left side, where it's mounted up higher, presumably to
keep it out of the water and mud. At any rate, it's all M38A1.
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