Welcome. Without a doubt Kaiser built these A1s from scratch. At the time, CJ-5s were being churned out in Toledo so the minor tooling changes needed for A1s would have been easy. Rebuilds were almost never done on manufacturer’s assembly lines.
Carefully touch each electrical connection between the batteries and starter after prolonged cranking, the one that burns your finger is causing the slow cranking. If none are found your starter may be dying.
Yes the resistor reduces 24 to 12 volts.
With the ignitor cover off, stick a solid wire core ignition wire into the coil tower and crank, this will remove the cap and wires from the equation for diagnostics.
Your VIN is the same as the mfg serial number M14479 which will also be stamped in the frame by the left front spring shackle. Go to your DMV and have them run the number. If it comes back with no data, ask them the process for lost title.
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