Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Car Of The Day: August 22, 2012

Today's truck of the day comes from Dean-O-mite's collection and is Pioneer's 1996 Kenworth T2000 Tow Truck.

Kenworth is an American manufacturer of medium and heavy-duty Class 8 trucks based in Kirkland, Washington, United States, a suburb of Seattle, Washington. It is a subsidiary of PACCAR, and is also a former manufacturer of transit buses and school buses. Kenworth began its history in Portland, Oregon. In 1912, the company was founded by brothers George T. and Louis Gerlinger, Jr. as a car and truck dealership known as Gerlinger Motor Car Works. In 1914, they decided to build their own truck with a more powerful inline six-cylinder engine. This was the first ever put into a commercial truck. The Gersix, as it was known, unveiled in 1915, was framed in structural steel, which along with its power, made the truck ideal for the rugged Northwest, where it was used for logging. In 1916 the Gerlinger Motor Car Company moved to Tacoma, Washington. Seattle businessman Edgar K. Worthington was managing his mother's commercial building, where Gerlinger became a tenant, and became intrigued by the Gerlinger company. Worthington's tenant was doing quite well, or so it seemed, and the Gersix became a popular fixture in the Northwest. In 1917 Worthington and his business partner Captain Frederick Kent bought the Gerlinger business, renaming it the Gersix Motor Co. In 1919 Kent retired from the business, and his son Harry Kent became Worthington's new partner. In 1922, Gersix made 53 trucks at its factory on Fairview Avenue at Valley Street. Trucks and motor coaches were assembled in individual bays rather than on a conventional assembly line.  In 1923 Kent and Worthington reincorporated the business as the Kenworth Motor Truck Company. The name was a combination of the two names "Ken" and "Worth", ironically the same as the surname "Kenworth." In 1926 they started making buses, and in 1933 Kenworth was the first American company to offer diesel engines as standard in their trucks. In 1945 Kenworth was bought by The Pacific Car and Foundry Company.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Kenworth

Although not a licensed model, this Pioneer is a decent miniature of the Kenworth T2000.  Pioneer makes cheap diecast, typically sold in multi-pack sets.  For a sub-one-dollar toy, this one is made pretty nicely.  I especially appreciate the amber light bar, combined with the clear windows; two different pieces of plastic, where a lot of companies would have just done it all in one color.

There is no page on Wikipedia for the T2000.  Only the page for Kenworth as a company has any mention of the T2000.  Doing my own digging, I got some helpful information from, on their 'Commercial Truck Fuel Economy' page: The T2000 was introduced in May of 1996, as a 1996 model.  The T2000 remained in production through 2010.  The T2000 was replaced by the T700.  The T2000's claim to fame was its aerodynamics and subsequent fuel economy.  At the time of its introduction, typical average fuel economy for a truck pulling a loaded trailer was about 5.5mpg.  The average fuel economy for a T2000 pulling a loaded trailer was about 7.0mpg.

While an average of 7 mpg (the economy of a Kenworth T2000 on flat land) might seem unimpressive by some standards, it's absolutely amazing when compared to the average automobile. The important thing to bear in mind is that most tractor trailers get that 7 mpg while hauling 40,000+ pounds of freight, for a combined truck/freight total of 80,000 pounds; that's one gallon of fuel burned per mile at 11,428 pounds. By comparison, an average 4,500 pound SUV would have to get 124 mpg to see the same fuel/weight efficiency.

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