Used Truck: Retruck’s Imported Peterbilts

Stuart Campbell is involved in one of the few companies with the capability to import and convert Peterbilt trucks ready for sale in Australia.

Used Truck: Retruck’s Imported Peterbilts
A 2014 Peterbilt 389 that Retruck is selling here on

Campbell is the director of Retruck Australia, which has been involved in the niche business of importing Peterbilt trucks since 2010.

Why a Peterbilt?

Peterbilt has always been a make of some prestige, and the fact that the trucks aren’t available natively in Australia can only add to their appeal.

"When a Kenworth guy jumps into a Peterbilt, they don’t jump out," Campbell says.

He says that the majority of people who opt for getting an imported Peterbilt are owner drivers who’ve done it tough and are looking to go out with a bit of class. You can read about the experiences of a Peterbilt 388 owner here.

He also says that there is an unwarranted perception that Peterbilts are expensive.

"They are actually a lot cheaper than a lot of the locally available stuff."

Nevertheless, there is quite a large amount of work that needs to be done to get a Peterbilt imported, converted and ready for sale in Australia.

Importing a Peterbilt

Campbell says that there are very few companies in Australia with similar capabilities in importing and converting American Peterbilt trucks. To get a license to import and supply used specialist or enthusiast vehicles for sale in Australia requires a business to be signed up for the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme (RAWS).

Peterbilt 389 Green

The process of getting a RAWS licence is quite complex, as evidenced by the 12-step process detailed on the Australian government website.  

The next step is simply finding a truck with the right specs to import, which Campbell says can actually be quite difficult. Once this is done, approval is sought from the government to be able to carry out the import on that particular chassis, a process that can take a few weeks.

Finally, Retruck gets the truck either put in a canister by a packing agent in America, or they are shipped on a roll-on/roll-off vessel. Once they get off the boat, which can take three to four weeks, the trucks are ready to undergo a right hand drive conversion.

Converting a Peterbilt for right hand drive

Campbell says that there are a lot of different technologies involved in converting a Peterbilt to be a right hand drive. He says that whilst some companies have gone the route of simply taking a dash from another truck to put in the Peterbilts, Retruck aims for accuracy and manufactures parts of the dash with the help of Computer Aided Design (CAD) software.

Peterbilt 389 Cab Peterbilt 389 Cummins Engine

He says that once the trucks are imported they tear them down to the chassis and rebuild them from the ground up, including the engine.

Overall, Campbell says that most of the trucks that they get are pretty big builds, and with custom paint included they can take a few months to get ready.

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