Tony Worland has a long and distinguished history of chopping things up, sautéing them in oil and butter before serving them up to an appreciative public.
As the owner of Tonic in Millthorpe, being a chef is what he's known for.
But when he's not doing prep or heading to the markets Mr Worland's passion goes in a completely different direction, the chopping up and modification of a 1961 EK Holden ute.
Purchased 12 years ago from another enthusiast in Queensland his EK project has been a long time coming, and now the car is registered and ready to roll, albeit with a completely different beast of an engine under the bonnet.
"We took out the original engine and put in a Chevrolet 350," he said.
"The original 138 cubic inch engine was 50 horsepower, this new one is 350."
In metric that means that the ute, which weighs only about 800 kilograms, has gone from a 2.5 litre six cylinder to being powered by a 5.7 litre V8. That's a very sprightly power-to-weight ratio.
The fact that the car was designed around a much smaller engine means that at first, people thought he was mad.
"Everyone said that you can't do that, so we have, because you can," he said. "It's stupid, I know, but you can do it."
That transformation hasn't happened overnight, the car has been off the road for 11 years.
"Over that time I've accumulated a lot of parts and things along the way," he said. "I also have a donor car that I've cannibalised."
Fitting the 350 into a space built for a much smaller engine was no plug-and-play operation either he said.
I call him an automotive dream technician ... he's incredible.Tony Worland on Brad Pizzi
"There's a whole new strengthening kit underneath, the cross member, suspension, nine inch differential and firewall are all new."
Other modifications include custom made headers, and an automatic column shift instead of the original three speed manual.
"I didn't want to put a hole in the floor with a selector because I wanted it to look original and that alone took two and a half years to build," he said.
Worland admits that he knows very little about how to actually go about making the necessary modifications and outsourced the bulk of the work to Brad Pizzi from Stripped Back Customs in Dubbo.
"I call him an automotive dream technician," he laughed. "He's incredible."
Externally the car is original, the classic blue duco has a worn vintage patina, but inside there are signs of change.
Retractable seatbelts and a new handbrake along with a mirror image of the gear stick are all on display.
"Because they didn't make an auto here I had to get the gear shift and mechanism imported from America, and they're all left-hand drive," he said.
The visor and venetian blinds give the car the appearance of something quaint and original, a ploy that was intentional.
"I wanted it to look like something your grandmother would have driven," he said.
That first appearance is true, the visor and venetian blinds gives the ute a meek and mild demeanour, until he turns it on.
When the 350 kicks in the thrum of the engine is enough to arouse an elephant at Dubbo Zoo.
"It goes like a beast," Worland said, "Yet it handles really well and is like a new car. I love it."
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