The 1980s was a decade of serious progress for Kenworth (e.g. sloped hoodline-pioneering T600 and first mid-range offering). And it all kicked off with revising the company’s traditional W900 convertional and K100 cabover trucks, which became the W900B in 1982 and the K100E in 1984. And, as it happens, this barn find tale is centered around an ’84 K100E that recently got a new lease on life.
Unless somebody has made serious efforts to hide this, you can instantly tell a K100E apart from its predecessors thanks to this moving from the traditional rounded headlights to rectangular units. And, underneath the skin, the updates go quite deep, improving the commercial truck’s efficiency, road manners and, most importantly for us right now, reliability.
Steve, the previous owner of the 1984 Kenworth had got his hands on the machine nine years ago, but never got around to using the vehicle, which is in need of some attention.
Instead, the K100E got parked in his mom’s shed, where it spent the past four years or so. Nevertheless, the man decided it was time to part ways with the truck, which is where YouTuber Bruce Wilson stepped onto the scene.
Bruce Wilson loves giving neglected big rigs a fresh start
The vlogger, who is well known for his bir rig rescues, decided to take the Kenworth home, albeit with the plan involving some TLC and finding a new owner for the machine.
Alas, not all of Bruce’s “Will It Start?” videos have a happy ending (this old John Deere AO Tractor he tried to save is one of the unfortunate examples), but this one does. So while the Caterpillar 3406 straight-six diesel, which works with a ten-speed manual, needed a bit of convincing before coming back to life, the unit eventually put a smile on everybody’s faces (7:54 timestamp of the clip below).
And the tale just got better from that point, as the YouTuber wasn’t wrong when he thought he could drive the thing for some 45 miles, so it could reach his shop.
Despite the rear axles featuring standard springs, the air bags fitted to the cab and the seats seemed to deliver a rather smooth drive.
These things were built to last and it shows and, at least based on what we can see in this video it appears that the truck won’t need that much attention before it can shine again.
Of course, cabovers are much rarerly seen on US roads these days, as there were mostly introduced due to restrictions regarding the total length of the truck and trailer combination. And since the legislation has changed, the main asset of these COE trucks is no longer that important.
Still, there are plenty of enthusiasts out there who appreciate such machines and here’s to hoping one of them gets to enjoy this Kenworth once the revival is completed. Meanwhile, we can only applaud Frank for not keeping the K100E in that shed until the truck couldn’t be rescued anymore.