That Time Diana Ross Jumped A Fucking Iso Grifo

Italian things and American things make for a wonderful pairing. You can find that joyous combination in both the Iso Grifo, with its gorgeous Italian styling and American V8 engine. It is beauty, it is class, it is everything sacred in this world. It is also in the 1975 Diana Ross epic Mahogany, where she and Anthony Perkins—Norman Bates from Psycho—fucking jump one.

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Last night Patrick George and I went to a movie together, as we usually do on lonely Thursday nights, and of course we had to see Mahogany. Mahogany is, as far as I can tell, the story of how Diana Ross and Anthony Perkins fucking jump an Iso Grifo, but along the way there also appears to be some sort of plot about Billy Dee Williams being smooth as glass and also Diana Ross is awesome despite the fact that everyone she meets is an asshole.

I dunno. I was too focused on the Iso Grifo. It’s very possibly the prettiest car to come out of the 1960s and ‘70s, bar none. It is with maximum pleasure that I get to show you that sweet, sweet jump right around an hour and 31 minutes into the movie:

Diana and Anthony (we’re on a first-name basis now, you guys) end up bashing the Iso Grifo up pretty good, but this is what one looks like in damn fine condition:

Photo credit: Riley
Photo credit: Riley
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Mmmmmm.

For those who don’t know, the Iso Grifo debuted in 1963, and its resume basically just reads like a classic car hall of fame. Styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Bertone (before he started his own incredible shop), with mechanicals by Giotto Bizzarini (who had just finished up with a car you made have heard of, the Ferrari 250 GTO), and a small-block V8 engine straight out of a Corvette, the Iso Grifo is a masterpiece.

With around 400 horsepower and weighing less than 2,200 pounds, it moved like hell, too. Later versions packed an even bigger punch, with the Grifo 7 Litri housing the L71 big-block Chevrolet engine, putting out somewhere way north of 435 horsepower. Even later versions got Ford engines, as well.

But I almost don’t even care. I just love it for the way it looked.

An Iso Grifo in the movie, a 1967 model, would probably go for higher than $250,000, if you can find one.

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I don’t know what happened to the Grifo from the film. But even if it was completely trashed, what an incredible way to go.

Deputy Editor, Jalopnik. 2002 Lexus IS300 Sportcross.

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DISCUSSION

aaronfoley
Aaron Foley

No shit, this is one of my favorite movies of all time. But nearly everybody in this movie was an asshole.

-Billy Dee Williams’ character was a guy trying to get into politics (he rises from alderman to a senator-type by the end), but he was an asshole because he shit all over Diana Ross’ characters dreams of being a fashion designer.

-Anthony Perkins was definitely an asshole because once he found his muse, he became all obsessive and controlling and weird. The scene with the Iso Grifo is the culmination of him trying to destroy her, figuratively and physically.

-Diana Ross’ character, Tracy, is surprisingly the biggest asshole. “Mahogany” admittedly drags on a bit, but if you’ve made it from beginning to end like I have several (*cough*) times, she’s the worst. A lot of people shit on her on the way to the top. She’s mentally abused by a nutcase and almost fucking dies. She’s already got it tough because she’s a woman, twice as tough because she’s black. And what’s the first thing she does when she makes it to the top? Immediately becomes the asshole that everyone else is by treating everybody beneath her like shit. This is the part of the story that’s always, always overlooked because it ends with her reuniting with Billy Dee Williams’ character (and even this part of the plot is dubious), but yeah.

-On a side note, there’s always been this rumor that this movie was kind of a shitshow for Motown, Diana Ross and Berry Gordy. Supposedly Diana didn’t want to make this movie, and only agreed to it (at Berry’s request) if she could do all the costume design. This reluctance to do this film is sort of hinted at in the movie “Dreamgirls.” And while the soundtrack did well (the theme song was a No. 1 that year), the movie didn’t do much for Motown financially.