Reader Submissions: 1969 Iso Grifo Connects Son to Father

1969 Iso Grifo Connects Son to Father

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
January 27, 2014
8 comments

Owner: Darren Frank

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Year, Make, and Model: 1969 Iso Grifo

Photographer: John Webber and Darren Frank (with the help of DiMostra “showroom” effect)

Growing up, his friends’ dads all had Chevrolets, Fords, or perhaps an Oldsmobile or Plymouth. But Mr. Darren Frank’s father was the only one around with an Iso Grifo and for Darren it was always a point of pride. After his dad passed away when Darren was only eleven years old he promised himself that he’d have one by the time he was thirty. He was able to keep his promise and purchased this one right on time, at age thirty.

That was twenty-five years ago and he’s still in love with how rare it is (one of 412 built), how it handles, the styling (by Giugiaro while at Bertone) and how quick it is. Most of all though, Darren loves how the Iso connects him to his father and his father’s passion for cars. This may sound very neat and romantic, however getting the car was anything but.

Darren found this car advertised in his Iso club newsletter after searching for ten years (!). He called the number listed and no one answered. “For two months, I called and left a message every single day. When the owner returned from his sabbatical, I asked him where I stood in being able to buy his car. He told me I was his first call, his last call, and almost every call in between. I could buy it over the other interested parties if I bought it sight unseen, so I did.”

His perseverance paid off but unfortunately, the car was in Salt Lake City, Utah and Darren was living in New York City at the time. Furthermore, due to snow in the area, the car couldn’t be picked up for almost two months.

The Grifo did finally arrive in New York City and has been with Darren since. Nowadays, he likes driving it in rural areas, on twisting, turning roads where he can enjoy the sound of the exhaust and the synchronicity he feels with the car. It does get driven fairly regularly even though it’s an award-winning show car. And it always gets driven to shows no matter how far away—he’s driven it as far as 500 miles in a single day to show it, win an award, and drive right back home.

And in case you’re wondering, this isn’t his father’s car. That still belongs to the person that bought it 44 years ago.

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Jerry Battaglia
Jerry Battaglia
Do you still live in the NYC area? When I was younger my dad had a ISO 7 Litre / Burgandy in color. He had it in his junk yard. Id play in the car as a kid, always wishing it would run. Id imagine I was racing it. When he sold the junk yard back in 1986 he sold the car to someone for a parts car. I believe the car was sold to someone in Eastern Long Island NY. But that was almost 30 years ago. I always wanted to drive in one. If your in NYC I… Read more »
vaffangool
vaffangool

[b]I wouldn’t dream[/b] of minimising the time and effort Darren Frank must have invested in the stunning interior, the immaculate bodywork, the faultless finish of this Series I Grifo–but [i]neat and romantic[/i] would be if he were to trade this concours example for his dad’s old car.

[b]I love those[/b] magnesium Campagnolo knock-offs, and that understated green doesn’t contrast as much with the mesh grille–something about the front end in red reminds me of a 1971 Dodge Charger R/T or a 1969 Plymouth Barracuda.

Eddie Relvas
Eddie Relvas

My favourite hybrid ever… this car has such sublime lines, it’s the best granturismo of its time!

I loved reading an article a while back that I found on a 60’s QuattroRuote talking about what it meant to be an Iso owner, and had several examples of loyal customers and their machines. They all made such complements about the cars’ performance, comfort, silence and smoothness that this turned me even more to the models, and this Grifo is the best-looking of them all. The later ones are a poorer design, but this is perfect!

Jimmy Arata
Jimmy Arata

Just a great story . . . thanks for sharing! ISO’s are cool cars, glad you people are keeping them road worthy.

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

I for one was always a big fan of these Italian American hybrids. You think at first it wouldnt be a good idea but when you look closer you realize its a fantastic combo. First you have the gorgeous and elegant lines from the Italians something they do every well i might add. Then you add a big american V8 which sounds awesome, has good reliability, easy to maintain too. It sounds like a match made in heaven to me.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

Cool story and a litle bit similar to my own car [url=”http://www.petrolicious.com/lucky-son-inherits-daytona”]history[/url] of Father and son having the same cars

My Dad has also just completed a four year restoration on a Grifo. From the few other owners I have met the Iso community seems like a cool bunch of enthusiasts.

When the weather is better and we can get the Grifo out the garage I’ll send some pictures to Petrolicious.

Keith Kenitzer
Keith Kenitzer

Great story and a beautiful car. Petrolicious is one of my 4 or 5 “go to” web sites everyday, and stories like this the reason why.

Yoav Gilad
Yoav Gilad

Thank you!