National Road Transport Hall of Fame

By Brown and Hurley on September 26, 2014 in Kenworth Facts | comments
The Kenworth truck has achieved many things.

Autumn 1991 saw more amazing Kenworth innovation. The T884 was introduced offering customers dual steering. By utilising two steering axles (front and rear) the new truck could make sharp turns—better than most conventional trucks. The truck could go over difficult terrain better than any other truck in Kenworth's history. Targeted toward off-road applications, the T884 found customers primarily in the mining and construction sectors.

That same season, Kenworth also accepted a most unique transportation challenge—the moving of a rare SR71 Blackbird spy plane. Kenworth, along with long-time customer Schmitt Lowbed Services (Redding, Calif.), handled the move. The Blackbird measured 98 feet in length by 23 feet in width.

Kenworth was contacted by Seattle's Museum of Flight, asking for help in getting the giant plane to the museum from its hanger in the Mojave Desert. Was it feasible (even legal) to haul the Blackbird back to Seattle? It was legal to do so but it seemed excessively difficult. A normal freeway traffic lane is 12 feet wide, meaning the Blackbird would take nearly two lanes of traffic. Variances from states were required for anything over 8-1/2 feet in width or 80,000 pounds in weight. In many cases, the Kenworth team knew traffic would have to be shut down in both directions to allow the Blackbird to move up I-5 and other roadways. But it could be done.

Five Kenworth trucks were required for the job. A Kenworth T800 with Caterpillar 460 horsepower engine and a specially-made 73-foot Trail King trailer transported the fuselage. Four Kenworth T600As handled the engines and wing sections. Twelve days after loading, the Kenworths and Blackbird arrived at the Museum of Flight, where the Blackbird is now the museum's star attraction