Vin's 100th milestone up in flames
VIN Boyle's grease-covered hands are proof of his dedication to a 10-year restoration project to breathe life into his beloved American muscle car.
The 85-year-old rebuilt the 1992 Chevrolet Camaro from scratch, and it was to be his milestone 100th restoration project.
But the Caloundra man's pride and joy went up in smoke after a fire erupted in his garage before he could reveal the finished product.
Mr Boyle was lucky to escape the fierce blaze.
He was behind the wheel of the Camaro when he turned the key to start the engine and test newly installed injectors. In an instant his car erupted into flames.
Mr Boyle tried using fire extinguishers to dowse the blaze, but it was no use and neither was a fire blanket.
He also tried to push the car out of the garage to salvage his tools and workspace, but when flames started to lick at his legs he escaped and could do nothing more than watch his car burn.
He suspects the injectors may have been part of the cause.
Two weeks on, the determined engineer is looking on the bright side of a devastating incident.
"Lucky I didn't end up getting the car out of the garage. I had two Cadillacs and a Jaguar out the front - they could have gone up too," he said.
The fire travelled upwards and his three-level home was smoke-affected but thankfully still liveable.
Mr Boyle also proudly says he built the home too.
A passion of all things car-related was engrained in Mr Boyle more than 70 years ago. He was 12 when his father enrolled him in a tech college to learn how to weld farming equipment.
He has been working with his hands ever since.
Car restoration is a hobby for the avid revhead, who spends hours each day tinkering in his workspace.
Now the blackened benches are a reminder of the project that never finished.
He was just days off completing the 10-year venture when the fire started. All he had left to do was replace the headlights and build new headlight frames.
A collector had recently offered $80,000 for the vehicle.
"When I see this place now and what it looks like, I can see how lucky I am," Mr Boyle said.
"I'm 85 now and cars are all I've ever known. I can't go fishing - I wouldn't know how to put the worm on the hook.
"I do customs as a hobby and I usually have two or three cars going at once."
And as for future restorations?
"I want to do seven more cars, then I'll be done."