UPDATE 7PM: THE owner of a 1968 Ford XT ute, stolen on Saturday night, had installed a $10,000 V8 engine into the vehicle just over 12 months ago.
Jason Rule, of Holmes Road, North Bendigo, had been restoring the rare car to GT specifications and had been planning to apply a new paint job.
He said it was stolen at about midnight.
"It was parked and locked under the carport," Mr Rule said.
"I heard the motor start and thought it was just the neighbours going out somewhere, but it did prick my ears up.
"I suspect they pushed it down the driveway and started it once it was on the road."
He has had the car for 17 years.
It also contained about $5000 worth of cabinet making tools.
EARLIER: BENDIGO Crime Investigation Unit detectives are appealing for public assistance after a 1968 Ford XT ute loaded with tools was stolen on the weekend.
Officers have been told the ute was parked in the carport of a Holmes Road property in North Bendigo when the thieves struck.
Police believe the offenders stole the ute, valued at $20,000, around midnight.
The 42-year-old male victim also had around $5000 worth of power tools stored in the tray section of the vehicle at the time of the theft.
Investigators have released a photo of the vehicle and are asking residents to keep an eye out for the ute which was last bearing registration plates ‘KPY-652’.
Anyone with information about the theft is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au