Bendigo's Angelo Di Donato loves restoring things. Anything he can get his hands on really.
"My father came out from Italy to work on the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme," Mr Di Donato said.
"He was originally a blacksmith so when he retired we started to work together on restoring things."
An RACV regional sales manager, restoration is a night time hobby for Mr Di Donato.
"I just love it," he said, pointing to a restored safe in the corner of his shed among other cars in various stages of rebuild, including those for his daughter, son and father-in-law.
But perhaps his most eye-catching project is a flashy red racing car from the 1960s.
"I've had it for six years," Mr Di Donato said.
"It took two years to restore it from when I found it."
It was a chance find. It all came about after Mr Di Donato had travelled to Finley, NSW for a clearance sale to buy sheet metal machinery for some restoration projects.
The pieces proved too dear and he was on the way home empty-handed when he drove past a house in Numurkah which had a bonnet of a car sitting on the roof of a verandah.
He doubled back to look for the house but somehow got lost and ended up stumbling on another house which had a variety of items strewn across the yard, firing the imagination of this keen restorer.
"It was about an acre-and-a-half of just random stuff," Mr Di Donato said.
"I got yelled at by two old blokes for snooping around their yard, but I wasn't in their yard, I was just looking."
After the initial misunderstanding was sorted out, Mr Di Donato was allowed in and he discovered the chassis of an old racing car rusting under overgrown grass.
He cut a bit of the grass back for a better look and took a few photos.
"I went away for a few months to work out what it was," Mr Di Donato said.
His research led him to track down the original mechanic who built the car. As it turns out, mechanics Derek Smith and Richard Hilyear built the race car for Bill Lorde-Milnes at Monaco Autos in Dandenong.
Having spent the week working on Peugeots, the mechanics would build cars from left over parts on Friday nights.
"They built seven and this is number one," Mr Di Donato said.
"They were called Aussie Specials for people who couldn't afford a Maserati or Ferrari. They just used what the could find lying around, and pieced together a race car."
Once he learnt the car's origins, Mr Di Donato was keen to follow through and a chat to Derek Smith sealed the deal.
"I got off the phone after talking to Derek and rang the two gentlemen in Numurkah and said I'll be there in the afternoon to pick it up," Mr Di Donato said.
His car is one of many heading to Winton track this weekend at the 45th Historic Winton event.
Historic cars, motorcycles and sidecars will be at the raceway along with displays and market stalls at the event organised by the Austin 7 Club.
Mr Di Donato will drive in the Regularity class, a category he has won in before, against cars spanning models from 190 to 1981.
"Regularity is where you nominate a time you think you can complete each lap of the race in," Mr Di Donato said.
"You start with 100 points. If you go under your time, you lose a lot of points, if you go under you lose a few pints and if you're right on you don't lose any points.
"So I've memorised corners at what speed I have to take them at. There's about 39 cars in the race and you're trying to lap other cars and stay on time while others are trying to overtake you.
"And knowing Winton it will be raining and freezing conditions."
Mr Di Donato's Monaco Motors Aljon Special has a 272 ci V8 motor from a Ford Customline and a VW Beetle transaxle.
"I broke seven (transmissions) in the first two years because they're only they're only rated for 40 horsepower, but we put a lot more through it than that," Mr Di Donato said.
"It originally had a Peugeot four-cylinder engine in it but now it's got a Ford V8."
Mr Di Donato made all the parts he needed to rebuild the car.
"A good friend painted the car but it was me, my dad and father-in-law who helped to rebuild it," he said.
"I only had three pictures to go off to rebuild the car. It's still the old car underneath.
"It's got drum brakes all round. Under the historic car racing rules, you can't make it what it wasn't."
The only modern concession is the tyres.
"Bias tyres back then were too dangerous so we are allowed to use modern tyres because they're safer," Mr Di Donato said.
The car only weighs 700kg and is capable of speeds of 145 miles per hour (230km/h).
"I've had it up to 190km/h at Sandown but the straight's not long enough. I'd have to go to Phillip Island to really stretch it out.
"I've had it up to 160km/h at Winton."
Racing driver Lorde-Milnes had the car from 1960 to 1964, after which it was taken over by John Skipper until 1967.
"It then went through about four other owners before winding up in the yard in Numurkah," Mr Di Donato said.
In a touching tribute, Mr Di Donato took the restored car to Sandown to show Skipper - now in ill-health - his old car.
Mr Di Donato will head to Winton on Thursday with his father John and son Giovanni.
He will have practice on Friday before racing Saturday and Sunday but whether another win is on the cards only time will tell.
"You always need a lot of good luck," he said.
"You prep the car as best you can and go from there."
Mr Di Donato is excited to be back at Winton.
"It's awesome," he said.
"Winton would be in the top two or three historic racing events in Australia.
"I'm originally from Wangaratta so it's like my home track."
Historic Winton is Australia's longest-running and most popular all-historic motorsport event.
This weekend is the Austin 7 Club's 50th annual event at Winton Motor Raceway with about 40 models from across the century on show, the oldest being a Special from 1924.
Other vehicle anniversaries include:
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