Peterbilt ‘Top Cat’ took 15 years to rebuild

We share the story behind Scott McSweeney’s popular Peterbilt, Top Cat

If you’ve been to any truck shows in the past few years, you’ll probably have spotted Top Cat. 

The 1967 Peterbilt is a favourite with veteran truckies and kids alike, and owner Scott McSweeney couldn’t be prouder of his eye-catching unit. 

  • Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to receive the latest news and classifieds from Australia’s transport industry.
  • Don’t miss a second and subscribe to our monthly Deals on Wheels magazine.
  • Sell your truck with Australia’s #1 truck classifieds

“It’s a unique truck,” he admits. “I like to stand out from the crowd!”

Sydney-based McSweeney is a busy man, running two businesses at once – transport company McSweeney Transport and trucking accessories retailer All-American Custom Chrome. 

Despite this, he still found time to completely rebuild the old Peterbilt – although it did take him 15 years.

“I just wanted something different, so I started building Top Cat on the side as a bit of a hobby,” he says. 

“I wanted this particular truck because it has a skinny nose – what they call a ‘needle nose’. 

“We stripped it down to literally nothing, and built it back up. 

“We made 80 per cent of the parts for it. You couldn’t buy the panels, so every panel on the cab is hand-made.” 

Fancy Fancy

When the truck was finally complete, McSweeney was reluctant to put it to the test. 

“It took me three months to take it for a proper drive,” he says. 

“Because I had hand-built it at home, I was scared it wasn’t going to be any good!” 

Thankfully the Peterbilt drives like a dream, and she’s now a working truck – carting local and interstate loads during the week, and towing the All-American Custom Chrome trailer to truck shows at weekends. 

The rig is particularly popular at shows, not just for its unique look, but because of the cartoon on the side which references the 1960s cartoon Top Cat. 

“It’s got a V8 engine, it’s the biggest Caterpillar engine that you can put in a truck,” McSweeney explains. 

“So I decided to call the truck Top Cat because it’s king of the Cats!

“A lot of kids nowadays don’t quite get what it is, because they haven’t seen the show. 

“But their parents get it, and the kids still love seeing the cartoon on the side of the truck.” 

McSweeney decided to carry the Top Cat theme across to some of his other trucks, naming them after two more characters from the program – Fancy Fancy and Benny the Ball. 

McSweeney’s classy Kenworth’s flame artwork mirrors the colours of his Harley-Davidson bike

“I have a purple Peterbilt that all the girls love, and I decided to call that one Fancy Fancy. 

“If you’ve seen Top Cat, Fancy Fancy is a womaniser, so I thought that would suit!

“Then Benny the Ball is just for fun, that’s my little truck that does all the hard work.” 

McSweeney’s feline machines aren’t the only stand-out rigs in his fleet – he also boasts a striking Kenworth T900, which he’s had for 27 years. 

That was the first truck he imported from America and worked on himself. 

“I got sick and tired of buying cheap sh*t, and I couldn’t afford to pay people to do trucks up,” he says. 

“That truck is parked in the shed having a bit of a freshen up at the moment, but it’s still going good.” 

“I just love flames, flames never die!”

The flame-adorned truck, which is nicknamed All Fired Up, bears a resemblance to Optimus Prime from the Transformers movie – but it’s purely a coincidence. 

“I actually have a Harley-Davidson painted an identical colour,” he says. 

“I just love flames, flames never die!

“But then everywhere I went kids were saying ‘That’s the Transformers Truck! It’s Optimus Prime!’ 

“I didn’t even know what Transformers was – I had to go hire the DVD to see what all the hype was about.” 

McSweeney takes great pride in his two businesses, and having a stand-out fleet plays a big part in building brand awareness. 

“People have got to see who you are, and remember you,” he says. 

“I’ve always got to keep proving myself to my kids. 

“The other day I deliberately took Benny the Ball to a show instead of Top Cat, and so many people were saying ‘Where’s Top Cat? Why didn’t you bring the other truck?’

“It’s proof that it has a following, which means I’ve achieved what I set out to do!”

Read more:

Check out the Deals on Wheels Facebook here.

Send this to a friend