Detroit Diesel marks 75th Anniversary

News Jason Cannon March 25, 2013

Originally founded as the General Motors Diesel Division, Detroit Diesel Corporation pushed its first engine off the assembly line in March 1938.

Now, 75 years later, the company has produced more than 1 million engines, logged billions of miles and re-branded itself to simply “Detroit” to reflect its growing lines of axles and transmissions.

Detroit’s Series 60 engine, launched in 1987, is considered among the first engines to offer fuel efficiency and better emissions.

“The Series 60 is an important part of our history,” Brad Williamson, manager, engine and component marketing for Daimler Trucks North America, says. “It was the first production engine to have integrated electronic controls as a standard feature, and ultimately became the most popular heavy-duty diesel engine in the North American Class 8 truck market.”

Detroit continues to reinvent itself as it attempts to vertically integrate the truck’s powertrain, with the introduction of Detroit Axles and the Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission.

The company invested $350 million to refurbish its plant in 2005, launched the Detroit DD15 engine in 2007 and implemented BlueTec SCR emissions technology in 2010.