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There is also one Ken­worth SAR and an In­ter­na­tional Ea­gle still work­ing solely on the cars. Lau­rie ad­mits he’s more of a fan of buy­ing the older trucks with char­ac­ter than the new ones, find­ing the com­po­nents and mo­tors eas­ier to deal with.

Ac­ci­den­tal out­come

In 2009, Lau­rie pur­chased the truck that would even­tu­ally be­come Phat Cat. How­ever, like any good makeover story, it in­volves grab­bing a liner after wind­ing the Pitts­burgh Power Box up to seven and, of course, blow­ing a steer tyre and go­ing bush at 100km/h.

Lau­rie bought the 2006 West­ern Star 4800 from an auc­tion. At the time it had around 300,000km on the clock. It did have its share of bling and a few ex­tra lights, but the Star was bought to work.

Its reg­u­lar run in­volved de­liv­er­ies in Rock­hamp­ton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns. It was also spot­ted fur­ther west where Lau­rie would have an AB-triple in tow.

It was on one of th­ese road train trips that Lau­rie pushed the lim­its of the C15 just a bit too much one day and the truck ended up on the back of a trailer it­self.

Lau­rie’s al­ways keen to ‘have a go’, so the re­build of the C15 was not go­ing to be fac­tory spec. In fact, it took the boys at Dave’s Diesel in Rock­lea, Bris­bane, about five weeks to get the mo­tor fin­ished. In fair­ness, two weeks were used up cater­ing for Dave’s metic­u­lous at­ten­tion to de­tail.

Each piece of Cat’s Plat­inum kit was tested by Dave be­fore it went on. Along with the kit, 600cc high-flow in­jec­tors were added – and let’s not for­get the mouth­ful that is the Borg Warner Non Waste­gated Turbo.

The last ad­di­tion to the new-look C15 was the big cam added ear­lier this year.

So, what did all that re­sult in? How about 727hp at the wheels and 2521ft-lb @ 1259rpm? Yep, the lit­tle Star has more pulling power than a bus­load of school­boys.

It took a ma­jor in­ci­dent to change the setup of the fac­tory C15 (though Lau­rie ad­mits that ma­jor in­ci­dent was in fact self-in­flicted; he boosted the Pitts­burgh up to seven) and it was another ma­jor in­ci­dent that led to the Hol­ly­wood makeover of the lit­tle 4800 work­horse.

In 2015, while run­ning just north of Mary­bor­ough in Queens­land, one of Lau­rie’s steer tyres blew. The truck ended up out through the bush, but thank­fully re­mained up­right and Lau­rie was un­hurt. The same couldn’t be said for the Star; the 62 grand worth of dam­age could not be buffed out.

Although the in­sur­ance com­pany wanted to write the whole thing off, Lau­rie had only just done the en­gine up so the choice was made to re­build. If you’re go­ing to re­build then why not re­paint, reshine and il­lu­mi­nate like crazy?

“Ev­ery­one kept telling me my life would [amount] to noth­ing.”

To quote Lau­rie: “After I fixed it, I thought f**k it, I’ll go ape shit with it!”

Phat Cat spent six months off the road get­ting re­mod­elled. Phil and his team at Ad­vance Tech Auto Body Re­pairs straight­ened out all the bush-de­signed pan­els and threw a cou­ple of blue bot­tles of paint at it. The new colour was in­spired by an FW Fal­con wagon Lau­rie had in the garage.

The team at Rock­lea Truck Elec­tri­cal (RTE) was tasked with ful­fill­ing all Lau­rie’s crazy ideas.

“You’re a driver,” Lau­rie tells me. “You know what it’s like when you’re on the road and come up with crazy-arse ideas.”

I am, and I do, but credit to the boys at RTE for putting those plans into ac­tion. In fair­ness, though, Lau­rie had all his ideas planned out.

He knew how he wanted it done, mean­ing the RTE boys didn’t have to bring some ‘Char­lie and the Chocolate Fac­tory’ ideas to life. They just had to fol­low Lau­rie’s plans. All stan­dard stain­less was re­placed with mir­ror fin­ish stain­less.

For those think­ing how much time is spent pol­ish­ing the rims, they are su­per-chromed. Lau­rie was in­vited down to Mel­bourne for a truck show, and a chance en­counter with Bernie from Samios Tyres led to the pur­chase of some “shinier-than-a-shined-up-shiny-thing” rims.

As for the lights, well, Lau­rie stopped count­ing once he got past ridicu­lous. The lights are set up on sev­eral re­lays, al­low­ing for ei­ther a few, a bit, a lot or a hell of a lot of light­ing – de­pend­ing on the oc­ca­sion.

Many of those oc­ca­sions are truck shows. Lau­rie’s Phat Cat is a reg­u­lar at truck shows and char­ity events. The shows al­low Lau­rie to step away from the day-to-day tasks and join the crew of reg­u­lar show ponies as they make a day of it.

While he has his fair share of tro­phies, as well as my share, your share and the neigh­bour’s share, Lau­rie ad­mits he goes to shows for the joy of it.

“It’s a chance to get away from the ev­ery­day crap and hang shit on each other,” he ex­claims with a beam­ing smile.

Phat Cat is edg­ing closer to the 3-mil­lion-kilo­me­tre mark but still earns its keep.

It may be like its lov­ing owner and slow­ing down ever so slightly but its shine just keeps get­ting bet­ter. It’s fair to say Phat Cat is a Pretty Hot and Tempt­ing Felis Ca­tus.

“It’s a chance to get away from the ev­ery­day crap.”

Above: The boys at Rock­lea Truck Elec­tri­cal wired up Lau­rie’s rearend vi­sion to per­fec­tion – you can see him go­ing from a mile away

Left: Test­ing out the new Dyno. The re­sults speak for them­selves Op­po­site: Starry, starry night. Lau­rie can al­ter­nate the lights’ set­ting for every oc­ca­sion

Above: Phat Cat is clos­ing in on the 3 mil­lion km mark

Left: Rod Tickle from East Coast Air­brush­ing is the man be­hind the amaz­ing mu­rals on Phat Cat

Be­low: High­way Truck Ac­ces­sories had its sup­plies of nut cov­ers dec­i­mated by Lau­rie

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