When you think Tom Tjaarda, Ford V8, Italian, the Pantera may come to mind. But add the words “Iveco chassis” and “4×4” and the allure turns to confusion. Why pay nearly $2,000 for just any SUV when you could have the Maserati Biturbo for the PTA crowd? Find this 1989 LaForza for sale in Miami, FL for $1,800 via craigslist.
Looking like a Yugo GV spliced with a Hyundai Excel, stretched over a Grand Cherokee, the LaForza was actually built by Pininfarina and shipped to Michigan for final assembly. Originally envisaged as a vehicle for Italians of high status and vulnerability to being rolled up in a carpet and thrown off of a bridge, the LaForza came to the US to protect the meek against slightly smaller sport utility vehicles in middle school car pool lines.
It’s tough to establish the value of an exotic Italian personal-security-sports SUV and the Lambo LM400 is certainly no help as a comp. The price point and general ownership experience is likely comparable to an old Range Rover in terms of cost, frustration, and reward via utility and style points. The Ford-sourced 5.0 V8 and auto transmission are certainly better equipped to outrun American mob cronies than the 4-cylinder Diesel versions in Europe, which were likely slow enough to get a few people ‘taken care of’.
Though the exterior may look Chinese or North Korean, the interior is distinctly Italian. Notice the seats, which were claimed to be hand stitched, appear to be in good shape. The round, sporty gauges in the cluster could fool you into thinking that you were driving the world’s largest Fiat 124. Luckily, the interior is all present and presentable. I don’t wish on anyone the task of searching for parts, given LaForza is nowhere to be found even in the best online auto salvage search sites.
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