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

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

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]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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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.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.
  • Geozinger Up until recently this was on my short list of cars to replace my old car. However, it didn't pass the "knee test" with my wife as her bad knee makes it difficult for her to get in and out of a sedan. I saw a number of videos about the car and it seems like the real deal as a sporting sedan. In addition I like the low price, too, but it was bad luck/timing that we didn't get to pull the trigger on this one.
  • ToolGuy I agree with everyone here. Of course there are exceptions to what I just said, don't take everything so literally. The important thing is that I weighed in with my opinion, which is helping to move things forward. I believe we can all agree that I make an important contribution (some will differ, that is their prerogative). A stitch in time saves nine. Life isn't fair, you know. I have more to say but will continue at our next meeting. You can count on that, for I am a man of my word. We will make it happen. There might be challenges. I mean, it is what it is. This too shall pass. All we can do is all we can do. These meetings are never really long enough for me to completely express all the greatness within me, are they? Let's meet to discuss. All in a day's work. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day. At the end of the day, I must say I agree with you. I think you will agree. When all is said and done, there is more said than done. But of course that is just one man's opinion. You are free to disagree. As I like to say...(I am working on my middle management skills -- how am I doing?)
  • Golden2husky Have to say he did an excellent job on the C7, especially considering the limited budget he was given. I am very happy with my purchase.
  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.