This page is designed to help figure out the model designations of trucks. There are a lot of different models, and I'm sure that we will miss some. In time we hope to have a very complete list. Keep in mind that there are lots of modifications that could have been done over the years and your truck may not be set up as the model number indicates. I will cover the following informaiton
-Serial Number Information
-Model Number Information
Truck Serial Number Info
Kenworth trucks will all have a serial number plate located in the cab, even back into the 1920's. It will contain a serial number, model number, GVW info, and even a top speed rating. The tags can be brass or steel. Until approx 1959-60 the tags were mounted on the dash/firewall. Around that time, some tags were moved to the drivers door panel. Depending on the truck model, they could be located in other places. On many trucks, the serial number is also stamped in to the RH front of the frame rail. Original bumpers also had serial numbers stamped into them on the upper rail lip, usually in the middle. On butterfly hood trucks, the serial number can also be found stamped into the RH upper hood panel, at the front near the radiator cap.
Model Number Diagnostics
Kenworths model designations can be confusing to say the least. The most popular and most confusing started in the 40's with the 500 and 800 series and then with the 900 series in 1956. Then there are the offroad trucks that add even more confusion. Hopefully with the following information, you will be able to understand it better. I know there may be other models that arent listed, and possibly changes over the years. If you can add to it, please let me know.
Ive been doing a bunch of research and bought a fair amount of original KW Literature to figure out how they designated their trucks. Now this information is for small window cab trucks. Also I have found information and actually seen a couple of the last small window cab trucks made and they were assembled in 1966, two years afterthe large window cab had been introduced. From what I learned from the owner of the trucks, they were built for a contractor who was doing a large job and needed a bunch of trucks, so KW assembled them from a
bunch of left over small cab trucks, both butterfly and tilt hood models. Now im not saying all off this is 100% accurate, so if someone knows something different, please pass it on.
The 900 series truck were introduced in 1956. These were conventional trucks. T series trucks were the CBE (cab beside engine) and K were cabovers. At this point they were T-500 and K-500 trucks.
These are the model numbers that I have found and what they represent.
I will use the 9 prefix to keep it less confusing.
905-Two axle, single drive, JT series Cummins engine
908-Three axle, single drive with tag, JT series Cummins engine
909-Three axle, tandem drive 45K GVW, JT series Cummins engine
921-Two axle, single drive, NHB Cummins engine base model (other Cummins engines, large Hall Scott's, and 6-71 GM available)
922-Three axle, single drive with tag, Same engines as 921.
923-Three axle, tandem drive 46K GVW, same engines as 921.
924-Three axle, tandem drive 60K GVW, same engines as 921.
925-Three axle, tandem drive, 46K GVW torsion bar suspension, same engines as 921.
929-Three axle, tandem drive, 46K GVW, Hall-Scott 590 gas engine.
985-Two axle, single drive, Hall-Scott 590 gas engine
Now for the pre 900 series trucks (500-800) its a little more confusing. I had thought that the 500 trucks were low mounts, but thats not necessarly true. The lower mounted cabs were for small gas and diesel engines that didnt require a large cooling capacity.
521-same as later 921 series
522-same as later 922 series
523-same as later 923 series
524-same as later 924 series
525-There was no 525 from what i can find, it was an 825. Same as a 523 truck, but has torsion suspension, like the later 925 truck.
585-Two axle, single drive, a lighter duty truck. 28K GVW, small Contenintal or Waukesha gas engine
829-Three axle, tandem drive, 42K GVW, small Contenintal or Waukesha gas engine
All this info came from original brochures dated 1950 and 1956. I have what appear to be some dealer sales pictures with model information that cover off road and specialty trucks.
548-Three axle, tandem drive, 65K GVW, 16x20 wheels/tires, diesel powered
552-Three axle, 6x6, 62K GVW, diesel powered
848-Three axle, tandem drive, 65K GVW, 12.00-24 wheels, diesel powered
851-Three axle, 6x6, 30K GVW, gasoline powered
852-Three axle, 6x6, 66K GVW, diesel powered
853-Three axle, 6x6, 66K GVW, diesel powered, dual rear tires
853D-Three axle, 6x6, 66K GVW, diesel powered, single rear tires
854-Three axle, 6x6, 50K GVW, gasoline powered
884-Three axle, tandem drive, 66K GVW, diesel powered
953-Three axle, 6x6, 74K GVW, diesel powered
984-Three axle, tandem drive, 74K GVW, diesel powered
Like I said, there are a lot more models than these im sure and if anyone can pass those along, that would be great.
500-800 series truck grills.
This is the grill of a 500 or 800 series truck. The way you can tell is that the vertical bars and the cross piece are made as one. They also have a slightly steeper pitch to the grill/hood angle.
Short 5/800 style grill
This is the grill on a WB829AG truck. Originally a small gas engine that took a small radiator for cooling. With that being the case the grill was shorter to match.
900 series truck grills
This is the grill of a 900 series truck. It is a three piece grill surround. Compare it to the picture above picture. It has a flatter pitch.
Late 30's-Early 40's
Heres a very early truck, after the Shovel nose design. Its a fabricated grill with a formed iron around the grill. The emblem is a stamped round logo.
This was what was called the Shovelnose truck. It was a tapered grill, hence the Shovelnose.