This edition of the BTES gives a short history of the KW W900L, probably my favorite truck model of all time.
There are several W900 models; W900A, W900B, W900L, W900S. I won't pretend to know exactly what those monikers mean, but I do know where the "Kenworth" name came from - Edgar "Worth"ington and Harry "Ken"t, the two KW founders. But today we're focusing on the W900L model, which, along with the Peterbilt 379/389 forms the dual epitome of largecar awesomeness.
We'll start with the W900A - it's unclear whether the "A" was used originally or if that's a modern addition to differentiate the classic W900 from the modern version(s). Below is what's now considered a W900A.
The W900A was the beginning of the W900 line, starting in 1961
The W900A has garnered fame from being featured in Smokey and the Bandit and Movin' On.
The W900A also introduced the first factory raised roof sleeper, the fantastic looking "Aerodyne", seen below.
Moving up into the modern era, the W900L is produced by PACCAR, with a huge slew of factory options.
Cummins, Detroit, CAT, and PACCAR engines were offered throughout the model's run, but currently Cummins seems to be the only option.
Various automatic and manual transmissions were and are offered.
Cab options range from daycab to the smallest 38" sleeper to the largest 86".
There have been several special editions, such as the 007 Edition, and the current pair of special editions, the ICON 900 and the KW 100th anniversary edition.
The W900 series, along with the C500 series, are the last KW models using the older style cab, which is being phased out in favor of the modern, larger cab style. KW has introduced the W990, which seemed poised to eventually replace the W900 as their premier largecar, but from what I gather, the W990 hasn't been received as warmly as first hoped. So if and when the W900 will be retired is, thankfully, unknown.
Also, the W9 series is one of, if not the, longest produced heavy truck models.
And that's a very short history of the W9. Thanks for reading!