The Best, The Worst And The Goofy
Best Moment For A Winged Car: When Buddy Baker officially broke the 200 MPH barrier for a stock car on March 24, 1970 at Talladega, Alabama.
Worst Moment For A Winged Car: The death of Talmadge Prince on February 19, 1970 in the second Daytona 500 qualifying race.
Best Victory In A Winged Car: Pete Hamilton in the Daytona 500 on February 22, 1970.
Worst Victory In A Winged Car: The Daytona's debut race at Talladega on September 14, 1969. Many of the "name" drivers refused to race (because of the condition of the track and its effect on the tires), and as such there was not much competition for Richard Brickhouse. In fact, Bill France was so hard pressed for competitors that he allowed 23 NASCAR Grand Touring cars (Mustangs, Camaros, etc.) to compete in the race.
Best Winged Car Driver (In NASCAR Winged Cars Only): Peter Goodwill Hamilton in the #40 Petty Enterprises SuperBird. Pete averaged an 8.5 place finishing position among all winged car drivers competing in 10 events or more. Richard Petty was next at 9.9.
Worst Winged Car Driver (In NASCAR Winged Cars Only): Don White had one start and finished 39th.
Best Known Winged Car: The #71 Bobby Isaac/Harry Hyde K & K Insurance Daytona. This car(s) spent time on the NASCAR tracks and the Bonneville Salt Flats, and is now gaining more notoriety because of the restoration it is presently undergoing. After Roger Gibson completes the resto, Chrysler, as well as others, plan to show it at selected events throughout the United States and Canada. A fitting tribute to the winged cars, as well as the men and the times that brought them about.
Best Looking Winged Car: Richard Petty's #43 Petty Blue SuperBird. Any car looks good with 43 on it, and most especially a SuperBird.
Best Looking Winged Car (Coolest): Charlie Glotzbach's #99 purple Dow Daytona. Joe Frasson's red and orange #18 Daytona rates honorable mention.
Worst Looking Winged Car: The #30 Dave Marcis car after his wreck at Atlanta on March 29, 1970. Parts of this car are still bouncing.
Best Rule Change As A Result Of An Accident: NASCAR's mandate after Buddy Arrington's wing took flight due to an accident in the second turn in the 1970 Daytona 500. After this, all wings had to have a steel cable passing through them which was anchored to the frame.
Worst Rule Change As A Result Of An Accident: Cable through the wing. What are the chances of a wing flying off a car and hitting someone?
Best And Worst NASCAR Rule To Come About During The Winged Car Era: The restrictor plate. Safer (?) racing, duller racing.
Best Thing Painted On The Outside Of A Winged Car: "426 C. I." - NASCAR rules required that the engine size appear on the hood in digits at least eight inches in height.
Worst Thing Painted On The Outside Of A Winged Car: John Soares, Jr. altered the wing decals so that "Ford" appeared on the helmet which the Road Runner was holding. At least he has a good name.
Best Winged Car Driver Name: John Soares, Jr. It has a good beat and you can dance to it.
The Best Thing To Happen When A Winged Car Wasn't There: Ramo Stott's victory in the Vulcan 500 at Talladega on June 14, 1970. Thanks to "last minute" rule changes, all winged car participants in the race were required to remove their wings and noses if they wanted to participate. Stott won the race in a Road Runner after qualifying for it with his winning car configured as a SuperBird. In a shameless attempt to curry favor with the growing Trekkie population in the south, ARCA named the race for the home planet of Star Trek's most famous character, Mr.Spock.
The Worst Thing To Happen When A Winged Car Wasn't There: Richard Petty's horrendous wreck in the Rebel 400 at Darlington on May 9, 1970. He had crashed his SuperBird in practice, and was using his short track car as a substitute. Accept no substitutes!
Best Wing: Ramo Stott's wing with the hand painted Road Runners on it.
Worst Wing: The short wing with the triangular vertical stabilizers found on the #71 Chrysler mule car. Incidently, the wing could be adjusted from inside the car. This was not allowed on the NASCAR versions.
Best Spoilers: Those attached to Petty Engineering cars at the 1970 Daytona 500. These spoilers were huge - they were wide, tall and had "slots" with veins to allow some air to pass under the car. They seem to have disappeared later in the season, possibly due to a rule change. Or perhaps they were needed more up north for use on some snow plows.
Best Winged Car That Really Isn't: The car in the Richard Petty Museum.
Worst Winged Car That Really Is: The Goody's car (formerly the #30 Dave Marcis car) painted as one of Richard Petty's SuperBirds. This is Goofy, not Goody.
Worst Moment For Bill France Sr. Involving A Winged Car: The five laps Dick Brooks lead in the 1971 Daytona 500 (with a 305 cubic inch Keith Black "sowing machine" motor) after "Big Bill" thought he had legislated the cars out of existence.
Best Moment For Bill France Sr. Involving A Winged Car: When, ironically, Pete Hamilton t-boned Richard Brooks on lap 98 taking him out of serious contention for the race win in the 1971 Daytona 500.
Best Winged Cars That Never Happened: The 1971 winged cars that, for a short period, were on the Chrysler drawing boards.Street Cars
Best Overall Appearing Winged Car: Daytona, Hemi Orange, black wing, "mag" wheels (a HEMI emblem on the door doesn't hurt either).
Worst Overall Appearing Winged Car: Any Daytona painted that horrible Dark Green color.
Goofiest Appearing Winged Car: Although the general public's answer to this question would probably be any winged car, it is in fact any car (other than a Daytona or SuperBird) with a Daytona or SuperBird wing bolted on it. If you see one of these atrocities, take no action yourself, but report it to the Mopar authorities immediately!
Best Winged Car "Package": SuperBird, 426 Hemi, 4-Speed Pistol Grip, Vitamin-C Orange, black interior, bucket seats and "taxi-cab" rims.
Worst Winged Car "Package": SuperBird, 440-4V, automatic on the column, Alpine White, black interior, bench seats and ralley wheels. Of course, since its a winged car, its still great!
Best Winged Car Event: The gathering of winged cars and their Ford and Mercury competitors in Alabama from October 14, 1999 through October 17, 1999. This Aero-Warrior Reunion saw many of the aero cars, their drivers and engineers responsible for designing and testing the cars gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Talladega Superspeedway. The event was "capped-off" with the Aero-Warriors taking a lap around the speedway prior to the running of the NASCAR Winston 500 race.
Worst Winged Car Event: Just one small part of the above event - the Thursday evening when the hotel refused to give some winged car folks their reserved rooms. Reason? The persons occupying the rooms refused to leave and the hotel wouldn't kick the losers out. They had just better be glad we weren't able to find out who they were.
Best Winged Car Appearance In A Movie: "Big Willy's" Dodge Daytona in the 1971 movie, "Two Lane Blacktop." James Brown should keep his day job.
Best Winged Car Appearance In A Television Series: Another Dodge Charger Daytona in the late '60s series, "The Immortal". Christopher George's character may have been immortal, but the series wasn't.
Best Winged Car Appearance In A TV Commercial: The winged car in a commercial currently running for "Speedvision", a new cable channel.
Worst Winged Car Appearance In A Video: The Spice Girls Video - too much of them and not enough of a great car!
Goofiest Thing Ever Heard At A Show Where A Winged Car Was On Display: From father to son, upon approaching a SuperBird - "Look, its a Dodge Talladega!"
Goofiest Thing To Happen At A Show Where A Winged Car Was Appearing: When a bone head got into a SuperBird without permission, and when asked why he was in the car without permission, simply rambled on about a friend of his "having one of these many years ago". This guy never had a clue that he was within inches of death - apparently he had mistaken the car show for a car dealership where you can jump in and try out a car.
Best Winged Car Question Asked At Auto Shows: Well, its actually more like the most often asked question, but if you believe more is better, then it fits. Anyway, "What year is it?" is the best question asked at shows.
Worst Winged Car Question Asked At Auto Shows: Any question where a SuperBird is referred to as a Superbee. Often when the owner tries to explain to the inquiring individual that the car is really a SuperBird, not a Superbee, they look at the owner like he or she is nuts, because they "knew some guy years ago that had one of these with a wing on it and he called it a Superbee." They are not daunted by the fact that a) You've owned the car for over a decade and are pretty sure after that time what the correct name of the car is; b) Superbees were made by Dodge and this is a Plymouth (at least that's what it says in huge letters on the rear quarter panels); c) The car has three different decals that say "SuperBird". The person eventually walks away still sure it really was a Superbee that they saw.
Best Winged Car Mystery: OK, there's a million things that will never be known about the cars, and this may be one. What is the story on the street SuperBird that was "dressed-up" to look like a Petty racing bird? This car appeared in late '69 and early '70 magazine advertisements carrying the banner, "The obvious reason Richard Petty came back." Petty and his employees are posed around a SuperBird that had certain cosmetic changes made to it (rims, tires, exhaust, decals etc.) to make it look like a racer. At the same time, however, the sheet metal is stock (fender scoops are bolted on, nose is not sealed to body, still has vinyl roof, etc.) Best guess is that the ad was prepared prior to any Petty Engineering birds having been built, so a early street bird was used for the ad. It is obvious that a significant amount of time was spent altering the car, and it would be interesting to know what happened to it.
Worst "Factory Mounting" Idea: Like now, in 1970 some states required cars to have front license plates as well as rear. Chrysler supplied a template so that the lucky owners residing in those states could mount the license plate bracket on top of the nose, slightly above the bumper strip. Although "factory correct", this was so profoundly stupid looking that most owners opted for something slightly less grotesque. If you look up "stupid" in a dictionary printed around 1970, it will have a guy in a green leisure suit drilling a SuperBird nose mounting his front license plate. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!
Best Street Winged Car Masquerading As A Racing Winged Car: We have a three way tie! In no particular order (other than alphabetical) we have: Dan Gaddis and his #71 Bobby Isaac Daytona, Wayne Perkins and his #99 Charlie Glotzbach Daytona (a factory Hemi Daytona!), and Glen Peters with his #43 Petty SuperBird. Driving with these guys around the Chrysler Proving Grounds oval is about as close as you can get to re-living the NASCAR winged car era.
The Worst Name For A Winged Car That Never Was: Plymouth was reportedly giving some serious consideration to calling the Road Runner the La Mancha, a name recommended by Chrysler's marketing consultants. The sheer amount of stupidity that allowed even a fleeting consideration of this name is truly amazing!