Kenworth is celebrating its centennial throughout 2023. Over the last century, more than 1.3 million Kenworth trucks have hauled goods across the U.S. and Canada, according to the OEM.
"In 1923, when Kenworth was founded, the mission was really to provide custom trucks for customers to meet their needs," Kevin Baney, Kenworth GM and Paccar VP, said during a Feb. 15 virtual press conference. "[The OEM] originated in the Northwest around logging. Those challenges that Kenworth helps solve for the customers is really in our DNA and we’ve carried that forward for decades."
"We have a series of first innovations over 100 years, and we are in a decade that has more regulatory changes and disruption," Baney added. "You can think of those as challenges, but we think of them as opportunities."
To commemorate its 100th anniversary, on Feb. 15, Kenworth introduced its T680 Signature Edition and W900 Limited Edition truck models.The T680 Signature Edition is available with Kenworth’s 76-in. mid- and high-roof sleeper configurations. The Signature Edition features a black interior with legacy red stitching accents throughout the cab and sleeper. The package also includes a Kenworth 100 branded GT703 seat with red accents special brushed platinum dash and door trim, and Kenworth 100 logo stitched into the sleeper back wall.
The T680 Signature Edition exterior features a black onyx grille and side air intake and prominent Kenworth 100 badges on the sleeper. An optional Kenworth 100 exhaust shield cutout and black anodized grille mesh are also available on mid-roof configurations. Also optional are new Alcoa stylized wheels with unique spoke patterns in Dura-Bright and Dura-Black finishes.
The T680 Signature Edition is available for order now. Production is limited to Kenworth’s 2023 100th anniversary year.
The W900 Limited Edition model is available in three configurations—86-in. Studio Sleeper, 72-in. Flat Top, and Extended Day Cab. Other interior features include a special edition steering wheel, brushed platinum dash and door trim, and Kenworth 100 logos throughout on the doors and thresholds. A Kenworth 100 sofa bed is standard with the 86-in. Studio Sleeper.Exterior elements include Kenworth 100 sleeper badges. A Kenworth 100 exhaust shield cutout and sun visor are optional.
“The Kenworth W900 is an all-time classic and iconic truck in the industry that is still admired on the road and at truck shows,” said Jim Walenczak, Kenworth assistant GM for sales and marketing. He added that only 900 of these trucks will be produced.
Each Kenworth W900 Limited Edition will be serialized in order of build date and sequence with a special Limited Edition badge on the glovebox. The units are limited to 2023 production.
"As we prepared for this, one of the considerations we had to give was we were in allocation mode—and we still are," Walenczak noted during the press call. "Supply is loosening, but the industry still, for the most part, is on allocation. We had to give consideration to the complexity it would add to the supply base with too many special editions. That’s why we chose the W900 and the T680."
100 years of history
The history of Kenworth began in 1923 when Harry W. Kent and Edgar K. Worthington incorporated the Gersix Motor Company as Kenworth. The company name was formed from a combination of letters from the founders’ last names, while the Kenworth logo originated from the K in Kent and W in Worthington.That first year, the small Seattle truck manufacturer produced 78 six-cylinder, gasoline-powered trucks. Since then, Kenworth has produced more than a million Classes 5-8, and super heavy-duty trucks, like the C500 6x6, with its gross combination weight rating of 1 million lb. Kenworth is also now producing medium- and heavy-duty battery-electric vehicles.
According to Kenworth executives, the OEM’s staying power in a competitive business can be traced back to a philosophy established early in the firm’s history: “To build the right Kenworth truck for each customer’s application to get the job done and build that truck to last.”
While the OEM celebrates its 100th anniversary throughout 2023, a “Kenworth 100” website will feature content dedicated to the company’s centennial.