V.I.S.I.T. – Forgotten but Not Quite Gone Edition

Yep! A Laforza. Slightly anemic Ford 5 liter V8, Italian designed leather interior, strange amateur repair job on hood, Ferrari badging, basically it was a conundrum. Amazingly it was still on the road and didn’t sound overly obnoxious when I cruised by.  For those of you that have no idea what this is, make the jump to find out. The Laforza has a short history. Back in the early 1980’s Tom Tjaarda designed his only SUV.  The Rayton Fissore Magnum was based off an Iveco chassis and marketed in Europe as an Italian military and police vehicle. The company also produced some civilian based models which were fancied up with leather interiors and introduced state side as the Laforza in late 1988/early 1989. The major difference was that unlike its European counterpart the US version housed a Ford 5 Liter V8. It also had a few significant chassis modifications and a redesign of the bumpers, exterior lights and grill. The Laforza was marketed as a direct competitor to Land Rover’s Range Rover but unlike Land Rover, production of the Laforza was minimal and the vehicles were riddled with severe mechanical problems from day one.  Because of this the company was virtually bankrupt before 1990 selling less than 50 cars per year in the United States. Laforza Automobiles North America finally went bankrupt in 1991 and all assets were sold off to a Saudi Arabian company who continued to make the vehicle until roughly 2003. If you see one on the road, know you’re looking at something exceptionally rare.

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