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Part 2

This exploded sculpture of a Big Cam III was erected in the Cummins headquarters lobby in 1983, and it looks like it will still be there after renovations are completed in 2019. The work was orchestrated by Cummins Applications Engineer John Walter and is considered a masterpiece of technical art. Walter, a B-24 pilot in World War II, has passed away, but his legacy lives on at Cummins. (Photo: Cummins Historical Collection)

From its start in 1932, the Model H diesel had been a prime mover and, by 1960, it had helped the Cummins Engine Company attain a leading industry position. It was one of those “just right” engines for many applications, but in an everchanging market, the Cummins engine lines also had to be ever-changing. The inherent flexibility of the core architecture would be tested by changes even Clessie Cummins might not have been able to imagine.

Speaking of Clessie, by 1960, he was long out of the managerial and manufacturing loop at Cummins Engine Company. For one thing, he was 72 years old at that point, and the pace of a modern company trying to stay at the top of a manufacturing peak is generally not for older men. The term, “creative dif ferences,” also applies, and while those differences got heated at times—like relatives who argue politics at the Thanksgiving table—there was a deep core of friendship and respect. Clessie would transition to the “eternal machine shop” in August 1968, and he passed on during a high point for the company he helped create.

For 1960, a new variation of the original H design would debut. A simple bore change from 5.125 to 5.50 inches over the standard 6-inch stroke bumped the displacement from 743 to 855 cubic inches (most “dieselheads” will recognize that number). Ratings ran as high as 380 hp at the debut, making it a class-leading powerplant.

While the 855 helped Cummins own 60 percent of the heavy-duty truck engine market throughout much of the ’60s, it was also one of Cummins’ most challenging decades. Government regulations, a constant battle to fight off differential taxation on diesel fuel (to equalize gas and diesel prices), more competition, labor issues and growing pains would all challenge Cummins’ leadership especially hard.

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About Diesel World

Diesel World May 2019, Find Your Next Truck : The Best Diesel Trucks to Build, The Good The Bad & The Ugly, Diesel History 1919-2019 : 100 Years of Cummins, And More.....