This is quite possibly the wildest looking winged car there ever was! It was owned by Rome Benedict who was a disc jockey at the radio station WGOW, aka Super Go, out of the southern U.S. Rome, who went by the stage name of "Romeo from Super Go", is shown here with his Superbird which was used for mobile radio station promotions, as you will notice the bullhorn mounted between the rear wing uprights. At this time, the car had a white bucket seat interior, and was customized with red velvet seat inserts.
Club officer Mike McGuire remembers that Rome dropped by one of the early Winged Warriors national meets, possibly in 1976 at Talladega, Alabama, with the Super Go SuperBird, but no one had seen the car since then. Not long after this page was posted on the website, Ross Wells informed us that sadly Rome Benedict passed away on January 10, 1993.
In April, 2005, I received an e-mail from Paul Hickman of Cleveland, Tennessee who added this interesting anecdote to the story: "In the summer of 1986, the car was in for service at Kile Chrysler Dodge in Cleveland, TN. This is about 30 miles north of Chattanooga where the WGOW Radio Station is located. I was 12 years old and remember this vividly. This was what made me want a winged car. The car was solid blue (Petty Blue) and had a black vinyl interior at this time (possibly a bench seat). It seems like it was a 4-speed with a Hurst T-bar shifter nob. The speaker was still attached to the trunk lid (black in color). The exhaust was very, very loud. David Kile, who was the service writer, took me for a ride in the car since it was near closing time and the cars had to be put inside. He told me the car belonged to 'some radio guy named Rome Benedict'. I am quite sure it had the same wheels as pictured in the photo on the website [above]. I later worked at the dealership in the mid-nineties while attending college. The owners are personal friends of my family. This is why I got a ride in the car. This is a great memory from growing up. I have ridden in another Superbird since then. Wonderful cars!"
After wondering where this Superbird had disappeared to all of these years, finally late in 2005, a gentleman by the name of Dub Clenney, from Arkansas, joined our club and solved the mystery. Turns out Dub owns the former Super Go Superbird! It's great to learn that this Superbird with the colorful past still exists, is in the hands of a club member and is being restored. Here is Dub's addition to the Bird's history:
"In May 1988, my friend Cecil Crump, Jr., decided he wanted a Superbird. At this time, we were working in Clarksville, Tennessee. We found an ad in a local magazine listing a 1970 Superbird for sale in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I called the phone number listed in the ad and bought the Superbird sight unseen for $7,200. The owner said his name was Rome Benedict. He said that the car had been painted Petty Blue and was a 440-6 barrel car.
The following Saturday, we headed for Chattanooga to get the car. When we first saw the car, we couldn't believe the graphics on the car. Rome had his picture on the car door with a cowboy hat and a microphone in his hand with a cable running to a picture of a radio tower painted on the back fender. On the front fender, he advertised music, shows and entertainment service. He had replaced the original vinyl top with a padded top that was 1/2" thick with seams down the middle. On the trunk lid, he had mounted a large speaker. The automatic transmission was gone and a 4-speed out of an E-body had been installed. The driver's side of the transmission tunnel had been removed to clear the linkage on the E-body transmission. The steering column had been changed to remove the automatic shift lever. The 6-barrel set up was gone and a 4-barrel carburetor and intake had been installed. The interior was blue velour custom upholstery. The photos below show what the car looked like when we picked it up.
After we drove the car back to Clarksville, we found seven speakers in the nose along with a Dukes of Hazzard horn. The car was an original 440-6 barrel car with black bucket seats and automatic shift on the steering column. The original factory color was Tor-Red. Rome had bought the car new.
The photograph posted above of the red/white/blue paint scheme was circa about 1976. After that it was painted black, gold and then Petty Blue when Cecil purchased it in 1988.
Rome Benedict was a stage name. His real name was Dave and his last name was a Polish name that I cannot remember. Rome would park the car in front of his radio station where he was a disc jockey. He mounted the speakers on the car so that he could play music for people passing by the radio station.
He told us several stories about the car. At ten o'clock on Friday nights, he would give all the local high school football scores. There was a school around Chattanooga that had lost 47 straight games. One particular Friday night, they broke their losing streak and he forgot to give out there score over the radio. On the way home after he left the station, they ambushed him with rocks and knocked out the windshield and a couple of windows.
After we returned to Arkansas, Cecil put the car in a storage building where it remained for 11 years. He took the car to Talladega in July for the 20th Year Winged Car Reunion. I purchased the car from Cecil in 2001 and I still have it. It needs a total restoration that I hope to accomplish soon. I have two other Superbirds. One is a B5 blue, 440 Sixpack 4-speed with white interior. I recently completed the restoration on this car and I am looking forward to showing the car this year. The other one is a yellow 440 4-barrel with automatic shift on the column with a bench seat interior."
A very big THANKS to Ross Wells, Paul Hickman and Dub Clenney for completing the story of the Super Go Superbird!
In March 2006, I received yet another update to the story of Rome Benedict and his Superbird, this time from Tim in Chattanooga. Here is what Tim said:
I came across your site by accident. I was sitting at my computer one day with a cup of coffee and a little time on my hands and started thinking about people and things from years gone by and began asking it questions, and saw the car from Chattanooga, TN that was owned by Rome Benedict. I thought you would like a little more trivia about the car and Rome, who went to school with my mother and lived just two blocks from me growing up in Chattanooga.
I was a mechanic at a Chevron station and worked on Rome's Superbird for many years. I drove it around for him on several occasions and at promotional gigs he did for the [radio] station. Many years later, I worked for Memorial Hospital here in Chattanooga where Rome unfortunately passed away. I had visited his room daily, sat with him and told dirty jokes. Rome was quite a clown, and in fact, he was in the middle of a joke when he died. Rome also appeared on a local television show for kids in the 1960's called "The Bob Brandy Show", where he played the drums.
Rome worked for several radio stations at any given time. I recall WGOW and WFLI would compete for him, each time the car would get a new wild paint job. We used to kid him that it was the only 14,000 pound Plymouth....10,000 of it paint!
The photo you have of the car is one taken at the Cameron Hill apartments here in Chattanooga and was on a post card he would give out. I still have one; I think it was circa 1975. I still have some photos of the car as well as quite a few promotional artifacts that Rome would give out to his "best customers". As for the promotional items, most are not suitable for publication, if you get my drift. They were items that Rome would give out from time to time to certain people he knew could handle it. One was a rather strange wrist watch that lights up every thirty seconds with a rather odd picture and a caption that reads "Time to F@#%".
The only other funny thing I can recall concerning the car was one night when Rome brought it by and was mad as hell saying, "This thing ain't running right. It won't fall out of a tree!"
It turned out someone had pulled a practical joke on him by switching the plug wires on the cap. It was going down the road backfiring like something from the Beverly Hillbillies. I fixed it for him and we set off for a test drive down I-75. When we hit a long stretch of road heading towards Atlanta, I opened that thing up and did not take my foot off of it. Rome fixed his eyes forward and quit talking--a first for Rome!
The car was doing an indicated 135 mph when Rome said, "I think you proved your point." Thinking back on this, I bet we were a sight to see. The Superbird is a radical looking car to begin with, but one painted like a modern masterpiece doing 135 mph while blasting Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road out of six speakers at full volume had to have been a first and only. Rome was a good guy that never grew tired of being made the brunt of a joke or being called the world's oldest hippie. We all miss him here in Chattanooga. Glad to see the Bird is alive and well and that someone is taking good care of it. It brought back a lot of memories from my younger days. I can still hear that 70's AM music being blasted from those gawd-awful speakers he had on that tank!
**A very big Thanks to Tim for sharing these memories with us!
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