Founded in Portland, Oregon in 1912, the Kenworth corporation produces both medium and heavy-duty class 8 trucks (which includes tractor trailers, dump trucks and semis), along with medium and heavy-duty cabovers which have become popular collector’s items and projects for restoration. The cabover consists of a tractor unit attached by a fifth wheel hitch to one or more semi-trailers to carry freight, with the majority of the weight being borne by the tractor, hence the between a simple truck-and-trailer arrangement.
Truck enthusiasts around the country have taken it upon themselves to restore these beautiful old rigs and share their results in shows and on the road. The beauty is that these vehicles are not reserved for the rich and powerful. These trucks can be useful and beautiful, used and enjoyed by truckers, enthusiasts, and collectors alike.
The most popular cabover models are the K100, K123, and the K200, but despite their popularity, they are a rare sighting on the streets and if you ever get the chance to see one up close, you should take the chance and savor this beautiful old rig.
With Facebook groups, YouTube channels, forums, and entire websites dedicated to the Kenworth cabovers, it seems these rigs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. There are even websites such as the Gillig Transit Coach / Pacific School Coach Online Museum and the American Truck Historical Society who are working to preserve several Kenworth public transit vehicles – and there are plenty of fans willing to dedicate the time and resources to preserve Kenworth’s other notable vehicles, such as the cabovers, both for historical value and for the acknowledgement of how Kenworth has shaped the industry for over 90 years.
The Kenworth brand has remained a name that connotes steady, high-quality products, as evidenced by their complete sweep of the 2007 J.D. Powers Award, specifically for Heavy Duty Truck Product Satisfaction.