Kenworth Celebrates its 100th Anniversary

February 15, 2023 | News

Kenworth Celebrates its 100th Anniversary


Kenworth trucks don't need any introduction. The year 2023 marks 100 years of history for the iconic trucking industry.

The journey begins on January 22nd, 1923, when Harry Kent and Edgar Worthinton incorporated the Kenworth Motor Truck Company in Seattle. The company sold 80 trucks in the next year. And that was just the beginning.

Soon, Kenworth was able to make its mark and production increased to nearly two trucks per week. That's when the idea of the custom-built truck became a standard at Kenworth and it's still in place today.


Kenworth through the years: :

  • 1925: Five models were listed, with capacities from 1 to 5 tons, powered by four-cylinder Buda gasoline engines.
  • 1927: A new plant opened in Seattle, which was used by Kenworth until 1946. Also, the first Canadian-assembled truck, the J-6, was delivered.
  • 1932: The Kenworth brand made its debut in the world of fire trucks by customizing them to the needs of each customer, in this case each fire station.
  • 1933: Kenworth becomes the first manufacturer to install and use diesel engines as standard equipment. The brand goes even further in the innovations by being the first to propose a cab with an integrated sleeper.
  • 1936: Kenworth produced the first cab-over-engine (COE) truck with the 516 model.
  • 1939: The "Needle Nose" from the 500 series was introduced and later became a Kenworth trademark with its ability to carry loads in difficult conditions that other trucks could not.
  • 1945: Kenworth became a subsidiary of Pacific Car and Foundry, which was later renamed PACCAR. Sales begin to expand to South America, Africa, and the Middle East.

  • 1947: Kenworth developed a separate sleeper, connected to the cab to provide truckers with sleeping space. Kenworth introduced a new cab in the COE line in 1948, later nicknamed "Bull-Nose" in the 500 series.
  • 1953: The cab-beside-engine concept was introduced and became popular in a variety of applications. Kenworth's Canadian division opened a new plant in British Columbia.
  • 1956: Kenworth introduces a conventional cab truck with the 900 series.
  • 1963: Kenworth introduces the W900 line of trucks, with larger cabs and redesigned instrument panels. The same year, Kenworth introduced a new series called the K100.
  • 1965: The W900 became the W900A model and featured a longer hood to handle longer diesel engines and a larger radiator to help cool the engines.
  • 1974: Kenworth opens a plant in Chillicothe, Ohio, which is still in operation today.
  • 1976: Kenworth unveils another first in the industry - the AERODYNE high top sleeper.
  • 1982: The hugely popular Kenworth W900A was succeeded by the W900B.
  • 1985: Kenworth introduces the T600A, making Kenworth trucks increasingly aerodynamic. In the same year, Kenworth develops its slogan "The World's Best".
  • 1986: Kenworth strengthened its position as a powerhouse of innovation with its new T800 model, which became the #1 choice for construction, pickup, delivery, and over-the-road tractors that face extreme conditions
  • 1990: Kenworth launches the W900L, which becomes the flagship truck for Kenworth owner-operators.
  • 1994: Kenworth introduced the T300, its first conventional medium-duty truck.
  • 2006: Kenworth unveiled the T660, designed to address high fuel costs.
  • 2007: Kenworth introduces a new line of medium-duty trucks: T370 (Class 7), T270 (Class 6), and the K260 (Class 6).
  • 2012: Kenworth introduces the T680 which is equipped with a new 2.1-meter-long cab design, and which will replace the T660.
  • 2013: Kenworth introduces the T880 that will eventually replace the T800 model.
  • 2018: Kenworth introduces the new W990, which is designed for heavy haul and over-the-road applications.
  • 2020: Kenworth introduces battery electric vehicles (BEV) with the K270E (Class 6), K370E (Class 7) and T680E (Class 8).
  • 2021: Kenworth introduces its new flagship truck, the T680 Next Generation, and a new line of medium-duty trucks: T180, T280, T380 and T480, with the T380V and T480V. These will replace the T170, T270 and T370 models.

It is without a doubt that the Kenworth brand will continue its path of innovation over the next 100 years by providing innovative solutions to the world's greatest transportation challenges. It is with pride that Groupe Kenworth Montréal will be part of the celebrations planned for the year 2023.

For more information on Kenworth's history, visit Kenworth's 100th anniversary micro-site.