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Since the 1920s, Kenworth has been manufacturing custom-designed trucks for the most rugged environments and applications. Tough, dependable workhorses that also incorporate a sense of style, Kenworth Trucks are designed to thrive in the most demanding conditions on the planet. However, even the most reliable trucks will need parts replaced at one time or another. It is our mission at 1A Auto to supply you with the right parts you need to keep your Kenworth truck working in tip top shape, at a great discount. Simply put, if you are in need of a replacement part for your Kenworth vehicle, you've come to the right place. You'll find a selection of new, aftermarket Kenworth auto parts including door handles, fuel sending units, window regulators, dash vents, hood springs and more.
Our product development team spends over 8,000 hours a year researching the best auto parts, and they are carefully selected by our trained engineers so you can rest assured that you are getting the correct, high quality part you need for your Kenworth truck at a discount price. If we wouldn't put the part in our own vehicles, we won't sell them to anyone else. A new aftermarket replacement Kenworth part from 1A Auto will save you 30-50% on average over a comparable new OEM replacement Kenworth part that you would get at a dealership, and our new aftermarket Kenworth parts are also extremely durable and reliable. Don't overpay for Kenworth truck parts and save yourself from a lot of potential headaches by shopping at 1A Auto.
You can shop for all of your Kenworth parts online and buy safely and securely right here on our website, or you can call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about any of our auto parts, or to buy over the phone. With over 150 years combined experience, 1A Auto's customer service representatives are the most qualified to answer your questions about all of our new and aftermarket Kenworth auto parts. Our representatives answer 99.9% of phone calls in less than one minute and emails are responded to within the hour because we know you need answers quickly to get your beloved Kenworth truck back in working order again. We also know you want your part fast for the same reason; 98% of in stock Kenworth auto parts ship from our warehouse within one business day so that you can get back on the road in no time, and all ground shipping in the continental U.S. is completely free. And, in the unlikely case that you are unhappy with your Kenworth auto part for any reason, 1A Auto also offers the only No Hassle return policy for unused items in the industry. Simply put, our competitors can't beat the 1A Advantage. Don't just take it from us - take it from over 50,000 satisfied customers!
Look no further than 1A Auto for your aftermarket, original equipment (OE) replacement Kenworth truck parts and get your truck the new parts it needs today from Kenworth enthusiasts just like you! If you happen to be an enthusiastic Kenworth owner, have a deep passion for Kenworth vehicles, or just want to learn more about the truck manufacturer, continue reading below for a detailed look at the brand's history and some of its past and present models.
Kenworth Trucks is an American manufacturer of medium and heavy-duty trucks with its headquarters based in Washington state. It was incorporated in 1923, but its roots trace back to the early 1910’s. Today, it is a division of PACCAR, Inc., which is now a multinational technology company manufacturing commercial vehicles sold around the world.
The foundations of what is now known as Kenworth began in a time when the Model T dominated the roads and the automobile industry was still on the rise. Several companies were taking a chance on the growing industry with aspirations that they too could become a powerful manufacturer, and one of those businesses, firstly registered as the Gerlinger Motor Car Works, was looking to get in on the action. The company was initially founded as a car and truck dealership in Portland, Oregon in 1912 by brothers George T. and Louis Gerlinger, Jr. In 1914, the two brothers began working on a side project, deciding to build their own truck which included a powerful inline six-cylinder engine, the first ever put into a commercial truck. They named it the Gersix, a combination of the company and its chosen six-cylinder, and they completed the project in 1915. It was built with the only parts available to them at the time, which lead to a structural steel chassis opposed to the pressed steel made by major manufacturers.
The truck, with its structural steel frame and its immense power, made it ideal for use in the logging industry in the rugged Northwest. In 1916, the company moved to Tacoma, Washington and rented out a commercial building that belonged to the mother of one of Kenworth’s eventual co-founders - Edward Worthington. Worthington, who was a businessman himself, was inadvertently enthralled with Gerlinger, mostly due to the fact he oversaw the building. It was a place where Gerlinger’s mechanics spent days sitting around, waiting for trucks and cars to come into the shop for repairs. The lack of demand for vehicles in the general public lead to a slow influx of repairs and sales of cars, but this was not what initially attracted Worthington to the burgeoning company; it was the Gersix, which had become quite popular in the Northwest, leading to some success for the company.
In 1917, the Gerlinger brothers sold the by now struggling company to Worthington and his business partner Captain Frederick Kent, who renamed it the Gersix Motor Company. With offices in Portland and Seattle, the company continued marketing their sole vehicle. The first few years were tough however with the U.S. entry into World War I and, with a lack of Continental six-cylinder engines, the truck dropped down to a four-cylinder. The company however also experimented with several techniques such as allowing “trade-ins” with horse and carriages. In 1919 Kent retired and his son, Harry, became Worthington’s new partner. By 1922, the company was starting to sell more trucks, and in 1923, the business was reincorporated as the Kenworth Motor Truck Company in order to take the business to the next level. The name of course was a combination of the duo’s surnames "Ken" and "Worth". Their headquarters were established in Seattle, Washington.
From the Gersix to the Custom Truck
Under Kent and Worthington, their inventory grew as the Gersix was phased out, improvements were made and sales saw a surplus of around 80 trucks in 1924. By 1925, they were manufacturing nearly two trucks per week. But a large part of keeping them afloat is credited to a sales and marketing genius named Vernon Smith who was largely responsible for their custom made models. Smith, who was well aware of the standard trucks manufactured by the larger automotive companies, made deals to meet certain owners’ specifications, which created a reputation that Kenworth was able to mod any truck within a reasonable request. This also lead to a lack of generic models since much time was spent accommodating certain requests. By 1927 they produced nearly three trucks per week, and to reach the international market they assembled trucks in Vancouver. A year later, staying true to their custom built approach, Kenworth began modifying their trucks for small logging companies in the area.
1929 looked to be a promising year when Harry Kent succeeded Worthington as president and expanded the company with another factory in Seattle; Worthington would pass away in 1944. But the inevitable stock market crash brought further hardships. Less customers equated to less production, but their tailor-make reputation once again saved the company. By 1932 the Great Depression was spreading to the west and sales dropped. Several customers had a rough time making payments and Kenworth looked for other options. Their reputation led to the production of fire trucks since a fire chief could order a truck to fit his crew’s specific needs. Public service vehicles also became Kenworth’s new focus, and this prompted them in the direction of public buses and trucks beginning in the 1920s, and lasting until the late 1950s. Oddly enough, when the company was still the Gerlinger Motor Car Works, their first two full-chassis vehicles were school buses based on the Gersix truck chassis. The first chassis to be built specifically for school and transit bus operators came in 1926. Dubbed the BU, they were heavily influenced by the original Gersix chassis. Kenworth continued its school and transit bus production into the 1950s, becoming a leading player in the industry during that time, and at one time it was the company's most lucrative form of business.
The 1930s were a decade full of firsts. Kenworth became the first American truck manufacturer to offer the diesel engine as standard equipment with a 100 horsepowered HA-4 Cummins. They also sold the first sleeper cab, which was a useful and innovative feat for a time where trucking routes were growing along the west coast. These routes spread from different states and cities, and each state had its own weight regulations to preserve their newly integrated highways. In order to accommodate the specific weights, Kenworth began tinkering with aluminum and eventually developed bumpers, hubs, and cabs. In 1936 the “bubble-nose” model 520 pushed Kenworth into the cab-over-engine market which helped lower the trucks length.
World War II Production
Like most companies, the onset of WWII halted commercial production, and Kenworth was called upon in support of the war once again. Since they had substantially grown in size, they were given a larger role than just producing the occasional truck. They spent the years manufacturing parts such as bomb bay doors and bulk heads for B-17 and B-29 bombers, and heavy-duty M-1 “wreckers” that came equipped with six wheels and six tons, useful for 6x6 towing. By the end of the war, Kenworth’s then president Philip Johnson passed away, and they were sold to Pacific Car and Foundry (known now as PACCAR, Inc.), becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary while maintaining independent status. Pacific Car and Foundry was originally founded in 1905 as the Seattle Car Manufacturing Company by William Pigott, Sr. to produce railway and logging equipment, ultimately getting into the production of logging trucks, open cars, steel, and more.
Pacific Car and Foundry's Acquisition
After Kenworth was sold to Pacific Car they became a subsidiary. Pacific Car had its eyes on the booming truck market that was bound to spur in post-war America. They had full confidence that the trucking industry would take off and began to manufacture trucks to fit certain fields. One of these involved sugar cane. The sugar cane fields of Hawaii relied on trains to transport their goods, and Vernon Smith promised Kenworth could focus on developing a truck that could handle the rough terrain and payload capacity of bunched sugar cane. In fact, Kenworth made 27 models in its first five years under Pacific Car. Apart from sugar cane and logging, Kenworth entered the oil fields of the Middle East with the Model 853. The truck was so successful that eventually 1,700 were ordered. Nearly ten years later, in 1955, the Canadian Kenworth Limited subsidiary was formed. This led to the creation of a new design where the cab looked split in half, called the cab-beside-engine design. With only room for one passenger, the drop in weight allowed added room for one half ton of cargo and was a smash hit. A year later, the Kenworth Motor Truck Company lost its independent status, and officially became a division of PACCAR. All bus production was shifted from Kenworth over to Pacific Car and Foundry in the same year as well. PC&F would then sell all rights, tooling, and equipment to Gillig Bros., a manufacturer of school buses at the time, in 1957.
Kenworth Continues its Special Orders
Kenworth’s ability to design a truck to fit their customer’s needs has resulted in them being called upon for special jobs several times throughout their history. One of these interesting creations was known as the “bruck.” In 1951 the CargoCoach was created for the Northern Pacific Transport Company to move both people and cargo. It was a hybrid of a truck and bus, hence its name. It came with a 136 horsepowered Hall-Scott engine, could fit up to 17 passengers, and only twelve brucks were made. The Kenworth truck has also endured feats that have made it a buyer’s choice for years, proving the company’s ability to make durable trucks for special occasions. For example, the White Pass and Yukon Route had specially designed Kenworth trucks ordered and manufactured specifically for a mission for oil in the northern Yukon Valley. The test proved how great Kenworth trucks can be. Despite the below freezing conditions and poor driving conditions, there were no major repairs needed to keep the trucks in commission. It was the first great test for Kenworth, and led to their expansion into Mexico in 1959 and Autrailia in 1965, officially establishing them as a worldwide brand.
Several models were released throughout the 1960s, and to start the decade off Kenworth paid homage to its original founders. The W900 (named after Worthington) increased the cab side and remodeled the instrument panel. The K100 (named after Kent) was redesigned to meet the length restrictions found in several states on the east coast. The 900 looks much more conventional by today’s standards with an elongated “needle nose” hood. By the 1970s Kenworth worked on the Artic Transporter (ATX) with a specially designed six-axle steering torsion bar suspension to handle the perilous Alaskan environment. In 1978, Kenworth was called upon to help move the Enterprise - the first space shuttle. Kenworth even had a project where they transported an SR-71 Blackbird spy plane and also had the freeway periodically shutdown after the Seattle Museum of Flight asked for help transporting the plane from the Mojave Desert to the museum.
In 1985 their revolutionary T600 set the stage for many aerodynamic styles to follow. It came with a sloped hood, curved bumpers, and a setback steering axle to make easier turns. Due to the design, many traditional truckers did not take lightly to being put in such a revolutionary truck, but the results in the gas tank showed, and in the years to come the style would change the form of the conventional truck. Further improvements were made in 1991 when the dual steering T884 was introduced. In 1993 the Aerocab was unveiled, offering more interior space by removing a wall and extending the length by nearly 12 inches. In 1996 the T2000 debuted with a 75-inch aerodyne sleeper and aimed to appease not only the driver, but also the mechanic and owner. It was one of the first trucks to take all three into consideration.
Kenworth is now owned by PACCAR Inc., and has been since the holding company was created in 1972. The Pacific Car and Foundry Company became a division of PACCAR but dissolved not long after when the company decided to restructure itself, with new divisions being founded in 1973. The Pacific Car and Foundry plant in Renton, Washington still exists today, but it proudly bears the Kenworth name. Today, Kenworth can be found all over the world with plants in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Australia. It is considered one of the top brands for heavy-duty trucks and continues to improve its own models. One of its more popular models, the T660, was created in 2007 as an updated version of the T600. Featuring a quieter cabin and ride, more aerodynamic styling for fuel efficiency, and dashboard navigation systems, Kenworth has shown no signs of slowing down as one of the premier heavy-duty trucks to originate and derive from the U.S.