Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Random Car Wednesday: 1990 Laforza 5-Liter

There's a difference between rare and obscure. A Mercedes 300SL Gullwing is rare, but chances are you're familiar with it. But some vehicles, like today's RCW, seem to fly well under the radar. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Laforza 5-Liter. Born in 1984 as the Rayton-Fissore Magnum 4x4, this Iveco-derived all-terrain SUV was meant to offer a combination of rugged capability and refined luxury. The idea is comparable with the original Range Rover, or the Mercedes G-Wagen. It wasn't until 1988 that the Magnum made its way to the US, where it adopted the Laforza name. Despite being produced up until 2003, the Laforza never really caught on with buyers, falling in amongst marques like Eagle or Merkur. That's a shame, because there was some real potential in this oddball Italian SUV. The chassis was a modified version of an Iveco unit, built for use in medium-duty army vehicles. Other underpinnings came from Iveco as well, such as the suspension and brakes. These truck-grade parts meant the Laforza was built to last, and was very versatile. It also came with a Ford 5.0 V8, hence the name "Laforza 5-Liter". The American powerplant leant reliability and ease of maintenance to the equation, making this SUV relatively practical. Finally, there's the design. It's oddly generic, like something you'd see in a Matchbox playset or a video game. It's not ugly by any means, but it's not really exciting either. The word "refined" seems most appropriate. It's handsome but not overdone. Like it or not, the Laforza never really caught on. More than likely it was the lack of a well-established manufacturer. The same thing happened to Tucker and DMC. Nowadays, these are very uncommon, so it was a nice treat to see one up close. Especially considering the fact that I may not see another.

1990 Laforza 5-Liter

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