Street Machine - - People Like Us -

MOST gear­heads you meet end up be­ing good peo­ple, but ev­ery now and then you come across some­one who takes that to the next level and uses their car as a, erm, ve­hi­cle for change. Ade­laide-based Ford man Peter Illing­worth is one such bloke. He’s had to over­come a great many chal­lenges in life and is a dou­ble am­putee, but he’s never let that get in the way of do­ing what he loves. He’s built his blown BA XR8 ute to raise funds for di­a­betes and or­gan do­na­tion.

Head­ing to Summernats 31, Pete?

Ab­so­lutely. I’ve been go­ing there since Summernats 9 and I’ve only missed one in that time. Shortly after Summernats 8 I was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal with what ended up be­ing a neardeath ex­pe­ri­ence. Due to com­pli­ca­tions from di­a­betes I had part of my foot am­pu­tated and I was about ready to give it all in. Then some­one handed me a Street Ma­chine magazine and I said: “Bug­ger it, I’m go­ing to Summernats 9!” I haven’t been able to kick the bug since. You’ve had your fair share of med­i­cal prob­lems over the years. At the age of 10 I used to come home with the shakes and the doc­tors couldn’t work out what it was. Di­a­betes wasn’t that well recog­nised back then. When I was 15 a cut on my foot got badly in­fected and an­tibi­otics weren’t work­ing. My right foot had var­i­ous am­pu­ta­tions and even­tu­ally I lost my right leg in 1999. Then in 2010 I lost my left leg be­low the knee. Then my kid­neys shut down and I went blind in my left eye. They’ve re­placed my kid­ney and I also had a pan­creas trans­plant. Thanks to that trans­plant, I’m no longer a di­a­betic. Tell us about the ute. It’s a 2003 BA XR8. It had some kays on it when I bought it, but it was clean and tidy. I thought I’d do some bolt-ons and at first I was go­ing to show it more than any­thing, but now it’s all about burnouts. It’s painted in a pro­to­type Phan­tom Pur­ple and has 20-inch wheels and a full spool in the diff. I pur­chased an M122 Ea­ton blower off a Mus­tang and had a man­i­fold made up, and lo and be­hold, it’s push­ing nearly 500hp at the rear wheels on 9psi. I’ve just changed the rear tub to a steel tray so I can pop some tyres, and I plan on up­ping the boost to 12psi to make it more in­ter­est­ing. To me the ute is noth­ing spe­cial; it’s what it’s do­ing that makes it spe­cial. It’s my way of show­ing peo­ple that you can do any­thing if you put your mind to it. Tell us about your fundrais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. The rea­son the ute got built is I wanted to show peo­ple that there is life after an ill­ness like this. I wanted to do up a street ma­chine and I re­alised that do­ing burnouts and let­ting off steam was the way I wanted to go about it. I’ve raised about $5500 in the past nine months, be­cause I wanted to give back to Kid­ney, Trans­plant & Di­a­betes Re­search Aus­tralia, who pretty much saved my life. They do great work de­vel­op­ing mod­ern treat­ments for di­a­betes. It’s an ab­so­lute killer these days, and it has to be stopped. We heard you’re head­ing out to Red Cen­tre­nats, too? Yes I am. I’ll have the ute out there and I’m look­ing for­ward to get­ting amongst it and let­ting peo­ple know what I’m about. I’m also do­ing Oz Nats and a few other Vic­to­rian shows; then it’s the big one: Summernats! What are you most look­ing for­ward to about Summernats 31? It’s just a great event. I love the joint and I can’t stay away. It means I’ve lived an­other year. If I wasn’t at Summernats I’d be sit­ting at home in a wheel­chair, and that’s just not the way my life is sup­posed to be.

If I wasn’t at Summernats I’d be sit­ting at home in a wheel­chair, and that’s just not the way my life is sup­posed to be

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