Hot Rod Builder Butler Remembered

Jul 21, 2011

Editor’s note: The following remembrance was provided by Kahn Media on behalf of the family of Ryan Butler.

Ryan Butler: 1979-2011

With great sadness we report the passing of hot rod builder and fabricator Ryan Butler, 32, who was tragically killed in a hydroplane boat racing accident in Olympia, Wash., July 9.

Ryan was known through the Northwest hot rod scene and on a national level for his soft-spoken, kind demeanor as well as his talent for metalworking, machining and an overall creative approach to building award-winning street machines and street rods.

Originally from Maryland, Butler debuted on the scene by building a ’67 Chevy Nova that won the 2001 Street Machine of the Year Award, followed in 2003 by “BuWicked,” a ’62 Buick Special featured in the Sony Gran Turismo videogame series.

Butler’s latest recognition was the “ShowLow” ’62 Chevy Bel Air, winner of the Mothers Shine Award at the SEMA Show in 2007.

Ryan’s love for performance and craftsmanship led him to create his own fabrication operation in the Seattle area, where his passion and talent was recognized throughout the hydroplane boat racing community, where he fabricated components for many teams as well as for his own racing boats.

Ryan Butler was well-loved within the automotive community not only for his talent, but for his positive attitude and support of others’ work in the community. You didn’t hear criticism from Ryan, as he understood how difficult it was to get these extensive buildups to completion and that everyone had their own taste and style, which should be respected.

A celebration of Ryan’s life was held at The Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum in Kent, Wash., on July 21. To see more of Ryan Butler’s work, log on to