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‘We’ve saved the Phantom’ – Sludge thrilled to avoid selling beloved truck

Outback Truckers star Paul “Sludge” Andrews is breathing a sigh of relief as he has managed to save his beloved Peterbilt, the Phantom, from being sold.  

Last month, Sludge and his wife Wendy Andrews announced that they were accepting offers on the popular purple truck, after the couple were hit with an eye-watering $140,000 tax bill.  

Sludge has been unable to work since suffering serious injuries in a motorbike accident in March 2023, and personal trainer Wendy spends much of her time caring for him.  

Wendy recently told Big Rigs that they have been living on money they set aside for tax owed on the sale of some fuel tankers.  

However, that tax bill hasn’t gone away – so the couple needed to raise $140k fast.  

They have done this through the sale of various personal items, as well as donations from friends and fans on GoFundMe.  

“I really want to thank everyone who has donated and supported us,” Sludge said.  

“I’m very happy that I get to keep the Phantom.  

“I’ve had a tough time with my health recently but I’ve been driving it at home and I’m hoping to get back on the road soon. 

“When I have better days, I am going to take it around to the local schools and to more truck shows, so people can see it.” 

The GoFundMe page, which was not set up by Wendy and Sludge but by a supporter by the name of Dan Tucker, has managed to raise $22,288 in donations.  

The fundraiser has received some backlash from truckies, but the couple say they have also received lots of positive comments.  

“There are so many haters out there, they have nothing better to do than attack people,” Sludge said.  

“You just can’t let yourself worry about it too much.”  

Wendy added: “We’ve been feeling a bit down recently because of our financial situation and because Sludge hasn’t been doing too well, and the nasty comments haven’t helped.  

“We’ve never wanted to be like ‘poor me’, it hasn’t been about that.

“We just wanted to update Sludge’s fans on his progress and what was going on with us.  

“Thankfully there have been a lot of positive comments as well, and that kindness and support makes a huge difference.” 

As part of the couple’s attempts to cover their tax bill, Sludge has had to say goodbye to his Nitro Harley motorbike.  

“I wasn’t happy to sell the Harley but it is what it is, I didn’t have a choice in the matter,” he said.  

“I had eight or nine good years of racing with it.  

“I just have to move on.”  

The Phantom is a big favourite with fans of Outback Truckers.

Because of his accident, Sludge has to re-sit his light vehicle driving test before he can hit the highway again.  

“I’ve passed the medical to get my licence back and now I have to do a driving test in a car,” he said. 

“I want to get my truck licence back but they don’t have any truck driving assessors near me so I’m not sure how that works!”

Wendy and Sludge want to raise awareness of the complexities of brain injuries – something they say not everyone understands.  

“Sometimes people will say things like ‘I thought Sludge was better?’” Wendy said.  

“Yes – physically he is better. The broken bones have healed, his body is pretty good, but a brain injury doesn’t just go away.”

Sludge is still suffering from symptoms like fatigue, sensitivity to light and noise, and feelings of being overwhelmed. He also has no sense of smell or taste, and when is tired the left-hand side of his body stops working. 

“We’re trying to explain brain injuries because just because he looks fine, doesn’t mean he is fine,” Wendy added. 

“But he was doing pretty well there for a while, so hopefully he will pick up again soon.”  

3 Comments

  1. That’s great news to hear that Sludge is getting better.
    Anyway keep on keeping on and good luck to you.
    Regards Warren

  2. Sludge you’ve got this. You know the ol saying Can’t keep a kiwi down for long. Be proud of yourself and all your achievements so far with all that you are going through, everyday is a new day and another step forward. Keep smiling. The big man up above has got plans for you. Loads of Aroha from Kiwi Land

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