The History of Kenworth

In 2013, the famous American Kenworth trucks turned 90 years old. We do not consider such dates as anniversaries, but the management of Kenworth Truck decided otherwise. Moreover, the company did not limit itself to celebrate a specific date, and planned events for the whole year.

These days, the company Kenworth, along with DAF and Peterbilt is a part of the PACCAR corporation and is one of the leading manufacturers of heavy trucks in North America. Its products are coming out of the plants in Chillicothe (Ohio, USA), Renton (Washington, USA), St. Terez (Province of Quebec, Canada), Mexicali (Baja California, Mexico) and Bayswater (Victoria, Australia). Export geography of Kenworth is very wide, and now the imposing trucks of this brand settled on our roads. However, the way to popularity at home and in the world was long and not easy. Conditionally the history of the company can be divided into two parts - the period before the creation of the famous W900 series in 1963. (they are exactly the jubilees) and subsequent events. What happened in the early and little-known period of Kenworth history, we will tell in this article.

In 1958, Pacific Car and Foundry acquired Dart Truck in Kansas City, Missouri, a well-known manufacturer of dump trucks and off-road vehicles. The company was renamed to KW-Dart Truck Company and transferred there the production of Kenworth dump trucks. They received the KW-Dart brand and were removed from production in the early 1960s.

Since 1958 the 900 Series trucks received twin headlights, and in 1959 - forward tilting fiberglass hood, made together with the fenders. By request, for some time the trucks were continued to be equipped with the old metal hoods type 'butterfly' with tiltable sides. Since 1962, the 900 series trucks could be equipped with a wider hood with a large radiator, which allowed to mount on them the most powerful diesel engines offered for road trucks. In the same year, 25 thousandth truck was produced.

In the fall of 1963, the 900 series trucks were upgraded. The trucks received a more spacious aluminum and fiberglass cab with a larger area of windshield. The designation of models was also changed. Now, in memory of one of the company's founders, Edgar Worthington, the letter W was inserted in front of the numeric index. At the same time with the W-900 series, the company began assembling cabover trucks series K-100 with a slightly modified 1957 cabin. Earlier K prefix indicated the cabover versions of 500 and 900 series, now it symbolized the memory of Harry Kent. Whereas Cummins engines were standard in the 500 and 900 series, Cummins and GM Diesel (Detroit Diesel) engines could be specified for power ratings from 180 to 380 hp. The appearance of new models had a positive effect on the production dynamics of Kenworth in the U.S.: in 1964 - 2037 units, in 1965 - 3049 and in 1966 - 3906.

The story of transformation of Kenworth from a small local company to a reputable truck manufacturer can be considered complete. The trucks of W900 and K100 series for many years of production have become the embodiment of such iconic phenomenon as a classic American Truck. Having undergone numerous upgrades for 50 years, descendants of the first Kenworth W900 trucks are still rolling off the assembly line, combining under the corporate slogan World's Best modern technical solutions and loyalty to tradition. Do not forget to use Kenworth VIN decoder in order to avoid potential problems when buying a used car.

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