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Article By: Chris Callen

Photos By: Melissa Shoemaker

Originally Published In The June 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

Brian Buttera is the kind of man who this magazine was made for. Self-made, overcoming personal trials and tribulations through putting his own hands and mind to good use. In the end, his pursuit of knowledge and willingness to roll up his sleeves paid off in an epic run at Daytona. Brian started out as a kid on a bumpy road, some bad decisions and a hard way to come up. He bounced around the country for a while and eventually found himself entering the world of welding and fabrication. He started out with the basics, working in a steel trailer shop but has worn a lot of different hats over the 20 years he has been at it. For a while he did almost anything for money, even taking a shot at professional fighting as a moonlight gig from his plant manager position during a five-year stint in Cincinnati Ohio. Today, his skills put him more in the field of close tolerance pharmaceutical types of fabrication work and the pace of his life keep him out of the ring as well.

It was through his work over the past ten years that Brian started to turn things around and has worked hard to make a life he can be proud of. Although he still takes full-time gigs in the industrial realm, he keeps his passion in his backyard shop called Buttera’s Metal Werx. There, he handcrafts industrial furniture one at a time, and it’s also the hidden workshop where he has created this beautiful motorcycle. While he has done a number of frames and some one-off parts for friends, you might be surprised to find out that this is his very first build. It all happened very naturally, he told me. He and his wife Tina took a break from life and wound up in Austin at the same time the Handbuilt Show was going on. There, he would meet Ryan Gore of Paper Street Customs, and that chance encounter would change his life forever. He was immediately intrigued by the conversation with Ryan and fell in love with so many of the bikes at that show he knew leaving he had to build a bike. One problem, he needed to learn what he needed to know to build one. This started a yearlong chapter in Brian’s life where he read constantly and did research until he was blue in the face. He came upon a 77 Shovelhead, his birth year bike, and decided that was the perfect place to start.

He started with the frame, working his way up to building his own Girder front end. With nothing but his own vision guiding him Brian laid out the perfect design in his mind and went after it. With the stance precisely like he saw it, he began adding some killer touches at the mounting points. Since the frame is as smooth as glass, these choices were made carefully, as not to interrupt the long straight lines of the chassis. When it came to the motor, Tom at Red Racing in Pompano was the man. He switched that old Shovel up and made sure that nothing was left to chance. This would be crucial in Daytona as Brian rolled the bike up to get his award at Willies and Roadside said that it looked great, but then asked if it ran…. One kick later, the bike fired to life and Brian secretly shit his pants. You see, like most of us motojunkies, he was working around the clock, with no food, almost no sleep, just to get it finished for Daytona. Even as it sat ready to make the three-hour trip to the beach the morning he left, he toiled away at the last few details. He arrived just in time to find a few bugs that needed to be shaken out of the braking, but he had a runner, and the looks blew peoples minds too. During his time at Bike Week, he took four of the most prominent awards you can get. Starting off with our show at the Broken Spoke where he got “Best Chopper” on to Willie’s where he took “Best of Shovel” and then “Best of Show” at Boogie East. He ended the week with a “Best Bobber” at the Rat’s Hole Show, making it a clean sweep. Although Butteras is far too humble to pat himself on the back, it’s good to see someone with such a great story of being guided by the passion for what he wants to do, get such a great reception from our industry.

The only part of this build other than the motor work that Brian didn’t tackle himself was the paintwork. For that, he turned to Mr. Oz Designs who killed it. He was coming down to the end and thought the bike might have to make Daytona in raw sheet metal when Mr. Oz reached out to him and told him to send the stuff, and he would make it happen. It was the perfect finishing touch to really set this thing off. In closing, Brian mentioned that it has been such a blast to meet and talk with so many of the guys who he has been inspired by like Bill Dodge and Will Ramsey. That getting to be on the inside of this thing he has admired from afar for so long now that he can only imagine that it will fuel him to push the envelope even further for his next build… And for those of us who know where that comes from, we’re counting on it!

Deadliner Shovel Tech Sheet
Owner: Brian & Tina Buttera
City/State: Lakeland, FL
Builder: Brian Buttera
Year: 2018
Model: Custom
Value: unknown
Time: One year +
Year: 1977
Model: Shovelhead
Builder: RED Racing
Ignition: Morris Magneto
Displacement: 74cu in
Pistons: Wiseco
Heads: Harley
Carb: S&S Super E
Air Cleaner: Speed dealer
Exhaust: Buttera’s
Primary: Tech Cycle Performance
Year: 2017
Make: RevTech
Shifting: 4 speed
Year: 2017
Model: Buttera’s Stainless
Rake: stock
Builder: Buttera’s
Type: Girder
Triple Trees: Buttera’s
Extension: N/A
Front Wheel: Bob’s Cycle Supply
Size: 23”
Tire: Bridgestone Trail Wing
Front Brake: N/A
Rear Wheel: DNA
Size: 18”
Tire: Firestone
Rear Brake: Kustom Tech
Painter: MrOz Designs
Color: Ruby Red
Type: Paint Huffer Metalflake
Chroming: N/A
Bars: Zombie performance/Buttera’s
Risers: Buttera’s
Hand Controls: N/A
Foot Controls: Boosted Brads
Gas Tank(s): Unknown modified/Buttera’s
Oil Tank: Bungking/Buttera’s
Front fender: N/A
Rear Fender: Brass 7Metal West
Seat: Jamey Jorden/Buttera’s
Headlight: Speed Dealer
Tail light: After Hours Choppers
Speedo: None
Photographer: Melissa Shoemaker

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