Rare Rides: The Beautiful and Illustrious Fornasari 99, From 2012

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the beautiful and illustrious fornasari 99 from 2012

Today’s Rare Ride hails from a brand your author hadn’t heard of until this tweet yesterday. My fingers could not fly fast enough to obtain more information on this beautiful spectacle of an off-road luxury grand touring SUV. Are your eyes ready?

Fornasari was founded in Italy sometime in 1999, and named after its founder Giuseppe Fornasari. Mr. F worked with investors and some of his friends to start up an all-new off-road luxury car firm. Fornasari had an interest in sporty motorcars since the early Nineties. He purchased a Corvette (the C4, very good) in the U.S. and wanted to take it racing. It’s unclear whether that occurred, but what is clear is that Fornasari did make several different models in the early 2010s, seven to be exact.

The largest of the brand’s portfolio was the 99 (sometimes called RR99). The only four-door car the company produced, it was considered to possess all the qualities of a grand touring car, a luxury sedan, and a real off-road machine, wrapped into one special and beautiful package.

Power arrived from the Corvette which Fornasari loved so much, in either 6.2- or 7.0-liter V8 guises. That meant power on offer ranged from 500 to 750 horses, depending on how fast a buyer wanted to escape good taste. For the more frugal a 3.0-liter turbodiesel was introduced sometime later, though it managed a more measly 250 horses. Transmissions on offer were of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic varieties. Standard drivetrain configuration was four-wheel drive, but rear-wheel drive was also available.

Widely configurable in its appearance, the 99 was a custom-order vehicle that was built to suit the desires of its customer. Paint and interior colors, “formula” ready brakes, and touring or off-road suspensions. Even the body material was configurable: Spendy customers chose carbon fiber, but aluminum was an option as well. Interiors were an amalgam of what look to be Cadillac DTS and STS components, alongside some other bits of unknown origin. Headlamps arrived via Aston Martin, tails from Lamborghini. Truly a global effort, though the below video shows some body roll not quite up to Aston or Lamborghini standards.

It’s unclear how many 99s were produced, or in fact how long the company was actually in business. Safe bet very few exist, and I couldn’t find any 99 sale listings present or past. The company’s website (still up and running) debuted in 2011 but was not updated past September 2012. Fornasari did participate in racing for a couple of years while it was building its sports luxury cars. Per Wiki, the company went bust by 2015.

[Images: Fornasari]

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3 of 18 comments
  • THX1136 THX1136 on Jun 17, 2021

    All the views of the car remind me of a Dodge Charger in a very general way. Nice looking car and good article, Corey. Thanks for doing this one up!

  • Noble713 Noble713 on Jun 18, 2021

    I really wanna read the POA&M (Plan of Action and Milestones) for how these bored rich guys go from "I think I want my own car company" to vehicles actually coming off a production line. Even if you are a luxury coachbuilder making a handful of cars, it's quite an achievement.

  • MelanieRichardson GOOD
  • El scotto @jwee; Sir, a great many of us believe that Musk is somewhere (pretty high) on the spectrum and move on.I work on the fringes of IT. Most of my presentations get picked over extensively and intensely at meetings. I'm smart enough to know I'm not that smart and willingly take advice from the IT crew. I bring them Duck Doughnuts too. We also keep a box of Crayolas in the meeting room.At one meeting an IT guy got way into the details of my presentation, the meeting went long as we discussed my target audience. Same IT guy insisted it was a disaster and would fail miserable and that I was stupid. Yeah, F-boms get dropped at our meetings. I finally had enough and asked if he was such an expert, did he want to stand up in front of 30 senior executives and give the presentation? His response was a flat "NO". He got the box of Crayolas. For you non-military types that means shut up and color. Musk is the same as that IT guy, lots of gyrations but not much on follow-through. Someone just needs to hand him a box of Crayolas.
  • FreedMike The FJ Cruiser would be a better comeback candidate. The gang back at Toyota HQ must be looking at all those Broncos flying off Ford lots and kicking themselves.
  • Tassos 2015 was only 7 years ago. $58k is still a whole lot of $ to pay for a vehicle. FOrtunately one can buy a flagship vehicle with great active and passive safety for half this amount, if one does the SMART thing and buys a pre-owned luxury flagship vehicle. they have historically been SCREAMING BARGAINS. A breadvan on stilts SUV, wether the more compact Macan or the more bloated Cayenne will never pass as a Flagship Vehicle. No matter how well it drives or how reliable it suprisingly is. It still is a breadvan on stilts.
  • Sean Ohsee Bring back the 100 series and its I6 diesel.