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  • John Buttera passes

    Drag Race and Custom Car Designer Builder
    L'il John Buttera Passes
    Posted Yesterday 02:13 PM by pittkrew
    Filed under: Hot Rod News, Vintage Drag Cars, Performance Parts, National Racing, Auto Body Work


    Lil' John Buttera, the man credited with reinventing the wheel and the builder of both street rods and drag race vehicles passed this morning after a long struggle with cancer.

    Perhaps the most versatile of builders with credits in Funny Cars, Indy Cars, street rods and, of course, the billet wheel, Lil' John will be missed.
    A shame. The two pioneers of high-tech street rodding pass within days of each other. In the 80s, people waited on the edges of their seats for the next Coddington or Buttera creation. The very first billet street rod wheels were on John's '32 Coupe highboy.
    "It was actually fun, because you're back fully driving again in these trucks. Ninety percent of the tracks we go to in the IRL, you're flat-out. I was having to lift off the corners some here." - Buddy Rice

  • #2
    John Buttera

    John is best remembered by Indy 500 fans as the driving force behind the 1987 BCV racing effort; a year old March chassis with a stock block driven by Sammy Swindell. They did not qualify, but John was given the Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award for his many innovations on the car.

    Does anyone know what became of that car or engine?

    Kevin Triplett
    Walnut Creek, CA

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    • #3
      Truly a hotrodder's hotrodder.
      "You people worry too much. Strive for change. Root for your favorites. Enjoy the racing. Drop the flag." rev-ed, 3/04

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      • #4
        R.I.P. John.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Kevracer
          John is best remembered by Indy 500 fans as the driving force behind the 1987 BCV racing effort; a year old March chassis with a stock block driven by Sammy Swindell. They did not qualify, but John was given the Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award for his many innovations on the car.

          Does anyone know what became of that car or engine?

          Kevin Triplett
          Walnut Creek, CA
          One of the engines for that project ended up in Lil' John's son Chris' NoVette. The NoVette was a Hot Rod project car back in '84; it was a '64 Nova with '84 Vette suspension and one of the aluminum 350s from the Indy effort - detuned, with a B&M supercharger. The car was one of the first post-49 cars given a full "street rod" type build. It was also one of the first, if not THE first, street machine given the Euro-style 2-tone paint job. (Black bottom/Silver top). It was an incredible piece. From what I've heard, it still runs around Southern California.
          "It was actually fun, because you're back fully driving again in these trucks. Ninety percent of the tracks we go to in the IRL, you're flat-out. I was having to lift off the corners some here." - Buddy Rice

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          • #6
            Godspeed John.

            His 1982 Eagle driven by Dennis Firestone was gorgeous.

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            • #7
              Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

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              • #8
                The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel finally saw fit to post a clip about his passing yesterday. I thought they could have been a little more timely considering that he was a SE Wisconsin native.
                Real drivers don't need fenders!

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