Steve Houlahan’s career in hot rodding began at an early age. Working in the family’s earthmoving business meant that mechanical things were never far away, and fabrication and mechanical skills were learned from the many skilled tradesmen working there. His first foray into car fabrication was building a bush buggy powered by a Triumph Mayflower flathead four!
That was the first of a long line of unique vehicles, from beach buggies to drag cars, and of course hot rods.
After leaving school, he took up an apprenticeship as a First Class Machinist with Veem Engineering. He also began building his first drag car, a T bucket powered by a radical Holden grey motor. A 1938 Ford sedan was also purchased whilst working at Veem but sold several years after completion. It was recently found and brought back to life after 30 years languishing in a shed.
Steve was a member of Westcoast Street Rod Club for a period before joining with the late Steve Igglesden to form the Conrodders Street Rod Club. During that time, he helped organise the Billycart and Bathtub Derbys held at the old Ravenswood Raceway.
In 1980, he drove his newly completed 1938 Ford sedan across the Nullarbor to Tasmania where he joined the first Tassie Rod Holiday towing a hired caravan around the island. From there it was off to Queensland and then back home. Several other ASRF national events were attended in some of his other hot rods.
Steve has built numerous hot rods for others and helped many with advice on their builds. He joined the WA TAC in the late seventies after prompting from fellow rodder Eric Warren, and was coordinator for many years. Much of this early period was spent liaising with government departments to ensure that hot rods could be registered in WA. He also spent many years as a Steward and Show Judge, taking him across the country to major show events.
In the mid-nineties, Steve took a break from building cars for others to run a retail business, but would ultimately return to hot rod building, and to the ranks of the TAC as an inspector, which he continues to do today. We are proud to nominate Steve as an ASRF Legend in recognition of decades of service across many facets of the hot rodding industry.
BY JAN KLUZNIK