Father’s Day: A 1966 Iso Grifo and a day’s drive gone awry

Father’s Day: A 1966 Iso Grifo and a day’s drive gone awry

The stories below were submitted as part of the Collecting Cars, Collecting Memories contest

Editor’s note: As a way to celebrate Father’s Day, we posted every story we received as part of our Collecting Cars, Collecting Memories contest. Thank you to all who submitted.


Dad’s 1966 Iso Grifo

My dad introduced me and my brothers to the world of sports and exotic cars. We had an annual ritual of going to the New York International Auto Show every year together.

In 1966, it was really special, as my father was looking for his next sports car. We found it on the Konner-Brown stand, in the form of a beautiful silver/black Iso Grifo!

On his next business trip to Europe that year, he made sure to stop in Milan at the Iso factory, and he ordered one in verde aintree metalizzato (green metallic) to be shipped back to the USA!

We had lots of great times together with that car. I was pretty young when my father passed away from lung cancer, and the memories of spending time together with him and his very special Iso Grifo made an indelible impression on me.

After he died in 1970, I made a promise to myself that I, too, would own an Iso Grifo, and I would have mine by the time I turned 30!

Well, I did it! And that was in 1989. Twenty-nine years later, I have a family of my own, and I still have my Iso Grifo (it’s rosso chiaro, or a shade of red).

While I eventually located my dad’s Iso Grifo, there was no question of selling mine to purchase my dad’s old car. My daughter always tells me her memories are in the “red car,” and I can never sell it!

I intend to keep that promise.

-Darren Frank from Charlotte, North Carolina

Darren poses with his 1969 Iso Grifo. | Submitted photo


A driving lesson gone awry

I was always one of those kids who pushed the edge of the envelope. I guess it has served me well as an adult, but there were many things my mom wouldn’t do with me because I was so — let’s call it self-confident.

One of those things was she would not teach me to drive. So good ole’ dad was the lucky one! I passed my permit test when I was 15 and I immediately requested my first lesson.

Like any kid with their new license, I was eager to drive. We drove together, me at the wheel, he with his foot on the imaginary passenger’s side brake. He spent a lot of afternoons and weekends with me and we talked and talked. Fond memories were being built. One in particular, comes to mind.

It was a weekend day and we left early for my job so I could practice driving. We drove out to the outskirts of town where there were wide open roads, fresh air, beautiful scenery, hills and trees. We rolled the windows down to feel the breeze. The day was definitely a 10!

I asked my dad about that day and he remembers it a bit differently.

He recalls the day was beautiful, the roads were wide open, the scenery was picturesque, but what he also remembers is a bee flying in through the rolled down windows. The size of the bee was enormous. We had reason to fear.

It began flying around the front seat and ,as an inexperienced driver, I was more focused on the bee and a potential sting than the road. Before either of us knew what was happening, he flicked the bee off his shirt and over to me.

As if in slow motion, I turned the wheel to the left and drove the car across both lanes and off the other side of the road. You’d think that would have slowed me down, even slightly.

No, I continued to drive.

Remember the hills and trees I mentioned earlier? This is where those came into play. I’d hit the accelerator and drove the car right over a cliff where it became airborne. It hung in mid-air for what seemed like forever.

Finally, I landed it on the forest floor and I hit the accelerator once again (note, not the brake), and drove it for at least another 100 feet until I parked the entire station wagon between three enormous trees. One just inches in front, one just inches from the driver’s side and one just inches from the passenger’s side.

Not one single dent. Now, the undercarriage damage is another story, but surely I couldn’t be blamed for that. I really made the best of a bad driving situation.

Luckily, it had a back window, as station wagons do, and we were able to crawl out through it. Otherwise, we may still be there.

Interesting that this didn’t spark a stunt driving career. It does spark laughter between my dad and I, every time we’ve recalled it. Like any father and child, and like the hills that day, we’ve had our ups and downs. But in spite of it all, we are grateful for each other.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad, and to all you other dads out there who barely survived raising a daughter!

Robin Hardina from Phoenix, Arizona

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  • Kate
    April 30, 2018, 1:38 PM

    Beautiful memories! Thank you Darren and Robin for sharing 🙂

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