Lil John Buttera, Funny Car Legend, Dead At 67

Illustration for article titled Lil John Buttera, Funny Car Legend, Dead At 67

Lil John Buttera, famous for making some of the most visually and technologically unique dragsters and funny cars, died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. Both an engineer and a designer, Buttera contributed to drag racing with cutting edge manufacturing techniques and aesthetic touches that helped increase the popularity of the sport in the 1970's. Some of his most famous designs include Don Prudhomme's Snake II, Mickey Thompson's Mach 1 and our personal favorite: the Wonder Wagon Vega driven by Don Schumacher.


Buttera's talent also extended to motorcylces, classic rods and even an Indy 500 racer. His passing comes only four days after the death of Boyd Coddington, who was both a fellow rodder and an old friend of Lil John. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. (h/t to StuPidaso and others that sent this in) [, Jalopy Journal, Photo]

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My main exposure to the man was the endless variations on his themes that Revell did in the mid 70's. I built a lot of those SOB's with the all the little independent parts on the front and back suspension. Actually got pretty good at it and made some nice looking stuff. Unfortunately I was an angry youth and I was most angry at myself so I destroyed pretty much everything I ever made.

Godspeed good man.