Kenworth W900

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Kenworth W900
Kenworth W900 semi in red.jpg
Manufacturer Kenworth Truck Company
Production North America
Model years 1961–present[1]
Designer Kenworth
Body and chassis
Class Class 8 truck
Body style Truck (bonneted cab)
Layout 4x2
6x4, 6x2
Related T600, T660, T800
Engine 180-600 Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, PACCAR engines
Transmission 18 speed, 13 speed, 10 speed, automatic
Wheelbase 285 in (7,200 mm) typically

The W900 is a Kenworth Class 8 truck model, known for its long-nose style. Even as more aerodynamic models such as the T600 and succeeding versions have been introduced for fleet use, the stylish W900 remains in production due to its particular popularity with owner-operators. The W900 was a gradual introduction, retaining many features of its predecessors which also continued to be sold alongside it in the early 1960s.


1967-1982 Kenworth W900A, with the round headlights

The engine sizes for the W900 range from 9 liters to 16 liters, and it accommodates up to a 625-horsepower engine. The W900 has front axles from 12,000 to 22,000 lb ratings, and rear axles from 23,000-lb single to 58,000-lb tandems. The "W" stands for "Worthington".[1]

The W900 is still in production after over fifty years, although not much remains unaltered. The early 1960s W900 trucks are identifiable by their delicate external doorhandles, mounted just beneath the side windows. They also have larger ventilation windows in the doors and chromed grabhandles atop the radiator for tilting the hood. The W900's doors are called "bulkhead style" doors and along with bigger front windows and a fibreglass roof panel this is what sets them apart from the earlier Kenworth conventionals. The lower mounted "paddle-style" door latches arrived in 1972. In 1973 the hood emblem was changed for a simplified model with three rather than four red stripes. In February 1982 the design was switched to rectangular headlamps, bringing with it a change in name from W900A (which had been introduced in 1967) to W900B. The W900B also sits higher on the chassis than does its predecessor; in Mexico Kenmex continued to produce the W900A equipped with rectangular headlamps. In October 1987 the new W900S model arrived - this has the same BBC (bumper-to-back-of-cab) as the W900B but a sloped hood (hence the "S") for better visibility. This model is easily confused with the T800 but does not have that model's set-back rear axle.

The original truck had a split, flat pane windshield which is still available for certain versions, although since December 1994 the T600's cab using a curved windscreen was added to the lineup. Originally it was only for the long Aerocab and also as an option on the daycab, and it only became available for the W900S in 2006. The flat windscreen is not available on the Aerocab or the extended daycab versions. Strangely, Kenworth offers the curved window either as a one-piece or as a two-piece with a divider in the middle. In March 1998 the very comfortable Studio Aerocab model was introduced.

In 1976 Kenworth introduced a more comfortable and taller cab for long journeys. Also, an even plusher version called the "V.I.T." was introduced, ostensibly to celebrate the American Bicentennial. V.I.T. stood for "Very Important Trucker", and most of these originally limited availabilities such as luxurious double beds and refrigerators entered the regular options list before long.[2]


In October 1989 the W900L was introduced; as is implied by the name, this is an extra long version. The BBC of this model is 130 in (3.3 m) rather than the 120 in (3.0 m) of the rest of the W900 lineup. This long bonneted version was actually first introduced in July 1989 as an available option for a special edition commemorating a W900's role in the James Bond movie Licence to Kill. This "Extended Hood" option was actually available for all W900B's.[3] The W900L went on to become one of Kenworth's biggest sellers with owner-operators.[2]


A much more aerodynamic truck based on the W900 was made by Kenworth: the T600. Introduced for 1986, this model had up to 22% better fuel economy over the W900.[4] The T600 was not intended as a direct successor to the W900, and as such, KW sold the two models alongside each other. The T600 was sold from 1986 until its replacement in late 2007 by the Kenworth T660.


Similar to the W900A, the W900B has square headlights while the W900A has round headlights.

Sleeper options[edit]

  • 86 in Studio Sleeper (218.44 cm)
  • 72 in Aerocab Flattop (182.88 cm)
  • 62 in Aerocab Flattop (157.48 cm)
  • 48 in Flat Top Sleeper (121.92 cm)
  • 38 in Aerocab Flattop Sleeper (91.44 cm)

In pop culture[edit]

The W900 appeared in the movie Smokey and the Bandit, driven by country singer Jerry Reed.

In M.A.S.K. a W900 and a K100 named Rhino and Bulldog are vehicles in the show.


  1. ^ a b "Kenworth Builds Plants and Offers Two New Models—1959–1965". PACCAR Inc. Archived from the original on 2006-10-28. 
  2. ^ a b "Toward the future: 76—1976–2001". PACCAR Inc. Archived from the original on 2006-10-28. 
  3. ^ "Kenworth offers limited edition James Bond 007 truck, plus introduces new Extended Hood option" (Press release). Kirkland, WA: PACCAR Inc. 1989-07-07. Retrieved 2014-09-07. 
  4. ^ "Kenworth's T600 - The Truck That Pioneered Aerodynamic Technology Celebrates 20th Anniversary". 2008-08-25. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 

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