Dick?s ?toys? still a habit


MOST people grow out of playing with cars when they are children but at age 65 Dick Willis seems unlikely to break the habit.

Mr Willis's collection of big boy's toys would be enough to excite any youngster and make most grown-up motoring enthusiasts envious.

A fanatical racer of historic cars, he has three cars in his Coffs Harbour garage, another four or five on his Coramba farm and another on display in a museum.

Such is his enthusiasm that Auto Action magazine this month named him its Historic Driver of the Year.

When asked if his hobby had become more of an addiction, Mr Willis agreed.

"I'm one of the worst, I suppose," he said.

The former Coffs Harbour Datsun/Nissan dealer became fascinated with cars as a child and started racing competitively in 1961.

After collecting British vintage cars, he became involved in historic racing in the 1980s and hasn't stopped.

"I've always been nuts about old racing cars," he said.

The vintage cars went and the first of a series of about 17 historic racers moved into the garage, in various states of repair.

Among his current fleet is a 1960 Ausper T2 Formula Junior racer, which was among the first two of its type built in England and then travelled to Rhodesia.

When Mr Willis bought it in 2001 it was a wreck, but four years of love and attention now has it looking back to its best.

Mr Willis has also worked hard to build interest in the sport and doesn't see his driving career coming to an end anytime soon.

"I'm at the top end of the age group among the drivers but while they still give me a licence, I'll keep going," he said.

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