Own This Rare LaForza SUV and Be LaCoolest Person on the Block
Many cars and trucks have timeless characteristics – iconic shapes and lines that looked as great in their heyday as they do now. This utility vehicle shape is arguably not one of them. It’s called a Laforza 5 Liter, and if you haven’t seen one in person, you’re not alone. The Italian-built SUVs hit the US market in 1989, but few were ready to plop down the cash necessary to bring one home, making them quite a scarcity today. This one recently popped up for sale on eBay, and if its claimed 29,000 miles reading is correct, it looks to be a highly well kept example. RELATED: It's Official! Lotus is Building an SUV
The Laforza – as it was known in the US market – evolved from an Italian SUV called the Rayton Fissore Magnum, which had a very good starting point. It was originally intended to be a military and police-purpose vehicle and was built atop a sturdy Iveco 4x4 truck chassis, but somewhere along the way the prompt was changed to “luxury off-road vehicle.” With targets set on the uber-luxe Range Rover, the Magnum was stylistically refreshed by legendary car designer Tom Tjaarda, famous for his work on the De Tomaso Pantera, and the Laforza was the end result.
This meant updated visuals and a truly plush leather adorned interior. In Europe the early Magnums made do with a series of small four and six-cylinder gas and diesel engines. But by 1989 the Laforza made the leap across the Atlantic as a rolling chassis, thanks to some substantial entrepreneurial gusto, and US models came equipped with a 185 horsepower 4.9-liter Ford V8 attached to a four-speed automatic.
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It didn’t quite set the market on fire though. In hindsight we can say that it was due to its styling, or its quality issues, but the main deterrent for most likely was the price. In 1989, the Laforza retailed in the mid $40,000 range and later in life it soared past $60,000 thanks to a new supercharged heart under the hood.
Nevertheless, it’s a noteworthy car, it features a slick interior, and it certainly isn’t what the Joneses are driving. Just don’t call it a Ferrari SUV.
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