by Elijah Buol
While out and about in Park Ridge South this month, I met a guy who impressed me so greatly that I wanted to tell the rest of the community about him. Let me introduce you to this local hero.
Tony Kilmartin is a father, grandfather, small business owner and car enthusiast in Park Ridge South. Born in South Australia, Tony has had a passion for music, cars and film from an early age. Tony’s love of cars emerged in the 1970s as he watched his grandfather and father build Hotrods from the late 1930s onwards. Tony said that these were the ‘good old days’ in Australian music & car history. Tony and his partner, Yvonne’s love of the custom rods and 50s Rock’nRoll scene, brought them to Queensland.
Not long after arriving in Queensland, Tony & Yvonne fell in love with Logan City and now call Park Ridge South home, along with their three children and twelve grandchildren.
Tony has had a pretty diverse career over the years. He’s a third-generation truck driver and still runs a local transport business trading as Straycat express – named after Rockabilly band. He also worked in the film and TV industry which included stints at Channel 7 and Channel 2 as a Camera Operator and a Light & Sound Engineer.
When comparing the older cars with the new, Tony said, “There’s nothing of interest in modern cars. Their style has nothing over the cars from the past.” But he sees a bright future for old cars. “Car enthusiasts, old and young, is growing, and the future of a business specialized in Hot Rod & Custom Cars is promising”, he said. Tony has owned many cars and trucks over the years, from Mack Superliners to Kenworths, but his favourites are his 1939 Chevrolet Hotrod and his Custom Peterbilt, named ‘The Memphis Flash’ (The Memphis Flash was named after Elvis Presley. It was his stage name before using his real name).
Tony told me that he loved building cars because “it’s an extension of the personality & passion of the person and making something you’ve imagined a reality. It’s a cool thing”.
Tony is not only passionate about cars but also about how he can do good in the community around him. Tony has been involved in many disaster relief initiatives in the Logan areas and Queensland. Tony & Hotrodder friends organized the first car show for the flood appeal in Queensland. They also fundraised for the current Queensland bushfire emergency. Tony & Yvonne have used their cars as therapy for children with disabilities and cancer.
Tony is a legend who is living his passion. He extends his passion by helping others in need in our community. It is people like Tony & Yvonne who make Logan West the best place to live. He is very inspiring!