Gear Head Tuesday – Kenworth “Bullnose” Trucks

Gear Head

Hat tip: “DBP”

Kenworth Bullnose truck

1955 Kenworth “Bullnose”. Photographed by David A Bontrager.

Founded in 1923, Kenworth Trucks are now in their 97th year of business.


Kenworth Trucks are among the most storied in the industry. The company originated in Seattle, Washington in 1923 and takes its name from its two founders, Harry Kent and Edgar Worthington.

Coincidentally, in 1905, William Pigott, Sr. founded Seattle Car Mfg. Co. to produce railway and logging equipment at its plant in West Seattle. The Company later merged with Twohy Brothers of Portland to become Pacific Car and Foundry Company, a name it retained for the next 55 years. In 1924, William Pigott sold control of the Company to American Car and Foundry Company.

Paul Pigott, son of the founder, acquired a major interest in the company from American Car in 1934.

Pacific Car and Foundry entered the heavy-duty truck market in 1945 with its acquisition of Kenworth. Thirteen years later, Pacific Car and Foundry greatly expanded its heavy-duty truck capability with the purchase of Peterbilt Motors.

Kenworth Bullnose b&w

Period photo of a Kenworth “Bullnose” at work.

The company’s directors and shareholders voted to consolidate the name “Pacific Car and Foundry” to PACCAR, Inc. in 1972.

Because of the company’s Pacific Northwest location, early Kenworth trucks found favor with the logging industry because the loggers found Kenworth trucks to be rugged and reliable.

Kenworth introduced its famous “Bullnose”, the “500” Series, in 1948. This was the first new postwar truck with cab over the engine layout. 

Kenworth Bullnose ICX

The shape of the front end the truck led to it being given the nickname “Bullnose”. (Kenworth never officially used the name “Bullnose” to describe this truck series.)  The cab of the truck didn’t tilt; it was rigidly fixed to the frame. Service of the engine was either from the cockpit or below. The cabin was available in both day and sleeper version. The “Bullnose” was in production from its 1948 introduction until 1960, built in the Kenworth plant on Marginal Way in West Seattle. The Jessup “Bullnose” in the first photo has logged more than four million miles.

Driving a 1955 Kenworth “Bullnose”
Click to play (12 min.):


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  1. Gary Lindstrom 28/01/2020 — 14:31

    Is it a coincidence that the tractor in the video is led by a Cormorant?

    Liked by 1 person

    • … heh heh … I thought that either you or “PacDoc56” would notice that J.C. Whitney (or some such) faux Cormorant on the nose of that KW!
      The Packard legacy lives on – bolted onto the hoods of thousands of over-the-road diesel trucks across the country! 😊


  2. michael cenit 28/01/2020 — 20:25

    neat truck, fine company

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chris Marshall 29/01/2020 — 11:57

    Men drove trucks in those days. Today, they have automatic transmissions, power steering, A/C, and air-ride suspensions, cab & seats. I’d love to see some of today’s “truckers” try to live with one of those Bullnose’s.
    BTW, I do drive truck for UPS, & started out in one of these 21 years ago;

    Liked by 1 person

    • Watching the video of the man driving that KW was like watching an art performance. He really knew how to handle those “twin sticks”.
      Even more impressive is he had brain surgery five months before the video was made.


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