Curbside Classic Outtake: The Force Is Not With Me

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
curbside classic outtake the force is not with me

True confession: I finally got stumped. It went by in front of me at the intersection, and I wasn’t really paying attention. A big bland boxy SUV; my subconscious identifying mechanism probably categorized it as a gen 2 Trooper. But then it rejected that, and sent a message back saying that impression didn’t fit with the memory banks, and I should wake up and notice what just drove by. Upon doing that, my only response was “that doesn’t belong here”. Well, it does, but it didn’t just then, in the momentary blank spot I was drawing. How about you?

Well, That wasn’t going to do, so I whipped across the empty right lane, turned and followed it. And when the Laforza name popped into view, I still couldn’t properly explain it to Stephanie. I knew it was an Italo-American project, conceived in the height of the SUV fever, and the 5 Liter badge meant that Windsor’s finest was under the hood. But did they really sell this thing here? Stephanie gave me that look reserved for senior moments. This is not the walking encyclopedia she’s used to. Time to put me out to pasture.

Well, the Laforza wasn’t exactly mainstream. It started life as the Rayton Fissore Magnum 4×4 shown in Turin in 1985. Designed by Tom Tjaarda, who penned that more famous Italo-American project, the Pantera, and based on an IVECO 4×4 military truck chassis, the Laforza combined hard core underpinnings with a handsome and plush body to compete against the Range Rover. Remarkably, it was federalized and sold on and off in small numbers for a number of years here, from 1989 through 2003, or whenever they finally got rid of the last of them.

Later versions had the 185 hp Ford replaced with various high-powered Ford and Chevy supercharged engines, in an effort to justify the $60k and up prices being asked. Apparently it has a very nice hand-stitched Italian interior. If I ever see it again, I will verify that. And know instantly what it is.

More new Curbside Classics here

Join the conversation
2 of 23 comments
  • Dave7 Dave7 on Apr 19, 2010

    I've only seen one in real life but they do seem to show up on eBay quite regularly. I suppose its for the person who wants something that will drain their wallet and a Range Rover is just too common.

  • Turbo60640 Turbo60640 on Apr 19, 2010

    I've seen 1 or 2 of these in person. They resemble SUVs from video games like Grand Theft Auto.

  • Tassos VW's EV program losses have already been horrific, and with (guess, Caveman!) the Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory growing with leaps and bounds, the future was already quite grim for VW and the VW Group.THis shutdown will not be so temporary.The German Government may have to reach in its deep pockets, no matter how much it hates to spend $, and bail it out."too big to fail"?
  • Billccm I had a 1980 TC3 Horizon and that car was as reliable as the sun. Underappreciated for sure.
  • Inside Looking Out I did not notice, did they mention climate change? How they are going to fight climate change, racism and gender discrimination. I mean collective Big 3.
  • Lou_BC I'm not too picky about gloves. If I'm concerned about heavy oil or grease contamination, I'll donn nitrile gloves. Heavier work and I'll use "old school" leather gloves, fake leather, synthetic or whatever is available.
  • Dusterdude Getting the popcorn ready . May be a good plan for strikers to make sure they own good winter jackets for future pickets .