Butch Patrick is one of those actors whose name you just know, even if you haven’t seen him on celluloid after his 1960s-era appearances. As the all-American Edward Wolfgang “Eddie” Munster from “The Munsters” TV show, Butch has been written in America’s consciousness, especially for GenXers who grew up with syndicated reruns. But, horror of horrors, did you know that Butch is a member of the tribe of automotive enthusiasts?
Born Patrick Alan Lilley, Butch took a liking to cars at the ripe age of seven thanks to the time spent antiquing with Grandma and her year-old 1959 Cadillac. Then, in 1962, Butch’s mother came home in a new Thunderbird, followed by a 1968 Cougar XR-7 — both cool vehicles for a kid at the time (if not an enthusiast today).
In 1969, at the height of the muscle car era, 16-year-old Butch bought a blue Mustang Mach I with the M-code 351 four-barrel and automatic, as his dad worked at Midway Ford. Though “The Munsters” ran from 1964-66, you can imagine being a teenager in Los Angeles and on top of the world with arguably Detroit’s “It” car at the time. By the time Butch was 18, the Mustang featured a 4-speed swap, cam upgrade, Holley 600 carb plus intake, headers, Detroit Locker with 4.30 gears, Mallory ignition, Ansen Ground Grabbers, Mr. Gasket 90/10 drag shocks … you get the idea. Butch also made a hole in the hood to accommodate velocity stacks for a homemade air induction system.
When he was 19, Butch bought a black, 12,000-mile 1969 Corvette T-top with a tri-carb L71 427, four-speed and 4.11 gears, which he owned for 2-3 years. In 1973, Butch started driving a new ‘Cuda 340 company car from Garden Grove Chrysler-Plymouth in Orange County, as his stepfather owned the facility. As you can see, he doesn’t have an allegiance to one particular brand, being all over the place like any good enthusiast should. Though not into building vehicles, Butch knows enough to tinker and get things going.
In the 1970s, Butch was a regular attendee at LA-area and Western dragstrips and locales with his buddy Jack Chrisman (yes, that Chrisman) like Lions, Irwindale and Keith Black’s shop. He also was tight with luminaries like Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and Roland “the Hawaiian” Leong.
“It was a good time to hang out!” says Butch. To those of us jealous of the time and place, that’s an understatement.
Today, Butch’s collection consists of several vehicles and Harleys. Notable to Hollywood mavens would be a recreation of the Barris Kustoms-built Munster Koach that features a Chevy 454 instead of the Ford 289 of the original. Another is a recreation of DRAG-U-LA, another Barris Kustoms creation that is powered by a 289 Cobra V8 with dual-quads like the original. (Both of the originals are currently owned by one collector.)
Looking back, Butch misses the 1969 Corvette the most, though he wishes he owned a Boss 429 and a big-block 1967 Corvette roadster — makes sense since both the Mustang and Corvette have made the biggest impact in his life, not to mention they’re the epitome of all-American cars for a very all-American werewolf who once lived on 1313 Mockingbird Lane.