American heavy truck Kenworth W900 is a living legend among the U.S. truck tractors. Every time when it comes to the American truckers, first of all they remember this truck! Imagine, the W900 has been producing since 1961 to this day! So the truck is already 62 years old. It is an impressive figure. Obviously, the W900 has an incredibly successful design. But what exactly is the secret of success of this bonneted heavy-duty truck?
There is a well-known maxim: if something looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and floats like a duck, it most likely is a duck. This principle works well in most life situations. However, sometimes things are not that simple and the Kenworth W900 is one of those cases. Just because something looks like a W900, is called a W900 and drives like a W900 does not mean it is the “same” W900 from 1961. In other words, the modern truck has little in common with the machine of the beginning of the second half of XX century. The Americans have been constantly upgrading the famous truck. Several times the improvements were really radical. And as for the name, it is pure marketing.
Kenworth W900 is a successful brand. However, the actual W900 was available (drum roll!) for only three years from 1961 to 1964. In 1965 the tractor unit underwent the first major overhaul: the hood was extended, the engine was replaced, the radiator was replaced, the doors and windows were replaced, all ventilation was improved, the interior was better equipped and much more. In fact, it was a new model, which received index W900A. It was produced until 1982. And in ’82, the model W900B was presented. It also had many changes both in design and under the hood. In particular, the ’82 model for the first time had modular electrical components. This truck is still in production today. In 1987 and 1994 additional models with indices “L” and “S” were made on the basis of the W900B.
However, for commercial reasons the W900B was renamed to already unreleased old W900. Because the W900 is cool, it’s nostalgic! The letter “A” is also kind of cool, because it’s the first letter in the alphabet. But the letter “B” already creates a “flavor” of mediocrity and secondary, which is bad for sales. It’s worth remembering that in the U.S., things are rated by letters, not by a point scale. For example, a grade of “A” at school is the same as an “A” in our native land. Correspondingly, a “B” is a “B,” and so on.
Therefore, nowhere, except in the technical documentation, you will not see it. Moreover, in 2018, the W900B underwent a new overhaul. Has the name changed for sales? Of course not. Years go by, and each new tractor is still marked with the index W900 from a truck produced only 3 years in the distant past. Although all the trucks have the same silhouette and name, the contents, the options, and the features are the same.