Kenworth Celebrates 100 Years in Business

Kenworth T680 Signature Edition
The Kenworth T680 Signature Edition is available for order now. (TruckPR/flickr)

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Kenworth Truck Co. kicked off its yearlong celebration marking a century in business.

Harry Kent and Edgar Worthington founded the truck manufacturer on Jan. 26, 1923. The company has been commemorating the milestone internally but now invites the public to celebrate, too. That includes the release of a signature anniversary truck model.

“We are super excited to be part of the team that gets to celebrate Kenworth’s 100 years,” General Manager Kevin Baney said during a Feb. 15 press event. “We have a lot of celebrations planned throughout the year.”

Kenworth, now a brand of Paccar Inc., started by building custom trucks in Seattle. The company has produced over 1.3 million Classes 5-8 trucks throughout the last century. Its first trucks were 6-cylinder and gasoline-powered, and the company made 78 its first year.

Harry Kent (left) and Edgar Worthington

Harry Kent (left) and Edgar Worthington founded the truck company in 1923. (TruckPR/flickr) 

“The mission was to provide custom trucks for customers to meet their needs, and it originated in the Northwest, really, around logging,” Baney said. “Those challenges that Kenworth helped solve for the customers is really in our DNA. We’ve carried that forward over the decades. We have a series of… first innovations throughout the hundred years, and we’re proud of those.”

Kevin Baney


He added that innovative spirit is alive today, helping the company tackle regulatory changes and disruptions. That includes the production of the C500 6 × 6 with its gross combination weight rating of a million pounds as well as the production of medium- and heavy-duty battery-electric vehicles. He noted that part of that approach is seeing challenges as opportunities.

“Our solutions go well beyond the product and to now processes and overall transportation solutions,” Baney said. “We’re excited about what the future brings. But back to this year, we get to be the team to celebrate.

Kenworth truck circa 1985

In 1985, Kenworth introduced the T600A — the industry's first truly aerodynamic truck. (TruckPR/flickr)

"We think about all of the employees that have come before us over the decades and the hundred years that have made Kenworth a strong brand, and we know there’ll be a lot of employees that come after us that will carry Kenworth forward as a strong brand.”

The Kenworth W900 Limited Edition also was introduced as part of the celebration. The model includes a special edition steering wheel, brushed platinum dash and door trim, and anniversary logos throughout. Kenworth also introduced the T680 Signature Edition. The Signature Edition Diamond VIT features a black interior with legacy red stitching accents throughout the cab and sleeper.

“We celebrated with our internal teams across Kenworth already,” Baney said. “We celebrated with our dealers last week. We held our annual dealer meeting. We have the strongest dealer network in the industry and so part of our celebration with them was obviously a combination of the business meeting, but we took time to celebrate the hundred years and also celebrate key milestones that our dealers are having as well.”

The first Kenworth Motor Co. plant

The first Kenworth Motor Co. plant in Seattle in 1923. (TruckPR/flickr)

Kenworth plans to make its celebration prominent throughout the year. That includes at trade shows, customer meetings and public engagement events. The company also will make the anniversary a big part of a parade it is sponsoring near its headquarters in Kirkland, Wash.

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