Laforza Accessories & Parts

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Just as the U.S. military’s 4WD Humvee Multipurpose vehicle became the basis for the civilian 4WD Hummer H1 SUV, so too did an Italian military vehicle become the progenitor of the Laforza SUV. The Italian army vehicle is the Iveco VM 90, and its immediate descendent was the Rayton-Fissore Magnum. The Magnum rolled on a shortened and lowered version of the Iveco’s chassis, with a body styled by noted designer Tom Tjaarda, creator of the Ferrari 365 GT California and DeTomaso Pantera. The Magnum, which debuted in Europe in 1985, was an early entry in the “luxury” 4x4 SUV segment, intended to compete with vehicles like the Range Rover. When the Magnum was brought to the U.S. a few years later, a domestic drivetrain was substituted and the name was changed to Laforza.

The fully boxed ladder frame of the Magnum/Laforza was additionally strengthened through the body’s unique UNIVIS construction: a framework of square tubes supports the body shell and bolts to the frame using rubber mounts. But where the Magnum was equipped with a drivetrain suited to the European market, the Laforza was fitted with running gear that would pass stricter U.S. emissions standards and be more familiar to American technicians. The first Magnums were available with a choice of 2.4L Sofim turbodiesel, 2.0L Fiat/Lancia 4-cylinder supercharged gasoline engine, or 2.5L Alfa Romeo V6 gasoline engine, with 5-speed manual transmission, while the Laforza was powered by Ford’s proven and durable 5.0L EFI OHV V8 engine with AOD automatic transmission and New Process part-time transfer case. Both vehicles had the same heavy-duty Iveco suspension, differentials and brakes, but the frame of the Laforza was modified and reinforced to handle the weight of the Ford powertrain.

The Laforza had its American introduction at the 1989 Los Angeles Auto Show. The exterior was virtually the same as its European spec counterpart except for body color matching painted bumpers, and the headlights and tail lights. As one would expect in an imported luxury vehicle of such caliber, the interior was richly appointed with plush carpets, soft, hand-stitched Italian leather, burled walnut dash inlay, and power everything. Although initial impressions by both the public and press were positive – the Laforza was rated a Best Buy by Consumers Digest in 1990 – it did not sell well. Despite the less complicated drivetrain Laforzas were plagued with mechanical problems and fit and finish issues, and even with the designer’s pedigree many thought the styling boring and uninspiring.

Between 1989 and 2003, several companies tried to make a go of importing Laforzas. While later versions of the European Magnum upgraded to VM Motori turbodiesels and BMW gasoline and turbodiesel engines, the mid-90s Laforza GT got the higher horsepower 5.0L engine from the Mustang GT and some were fitted with the larger 5.8L EFI OHV V8, and even a supercharger. The Ford Explorer drivetrain with 5.0L engine, electronic automatic overdrive transmission and full-time 4WD transfer case were fitted to the late-90s Laforza Prima. The final Laforza variant, the Laforza Magnum edition, was available until 2003 and featured the most powerful engine yet installed in a Laforza, a supercharged GM 6.0L V8 with 4-speed electronic automatic overdrive transmission and part-time 4WD transfer case.

The Laforza may have just been ahead of its time. Today luxury SUVs like Porsche Cayennes are commonplace and even manufacturers like Bentley are in the SUV game, but a huge price tag coupled with bland styling and quality concerns all worked against Laforza in the 1990s. Laforzas weren’t imported in great numbers and today they’re prized for their exclusivity. What was once an expensive toy can now often be found used for a reasonable price, so for much less than the cost of an average grocery-getter SUV you can drive an exotic that’s far from ordinary, and one that thanks to its domestic drivetrain is relatively easy to service. If you’re looking for a Laforza or if you’re lucky enough to already own one of these unusual SUVs, you’ll find a huge selection of maintenance supplies, repair parts, and appearance products on our digital shelves to keep your Laforza on the road, running well, and looking good.

Dress your vehicle up. Keep it running at its peak or unleash its hidden power. Make it look like it just rolled off the show room floor. Take care of it and maintain it. You name it, we've got it. We have gathered everything you need to make your Laforza perfect both inside and out. CARiD's job is to meet your every expectation and provide you with quality and durable accessories and parts designed with excellence in mind. Whether you're after luxurious style, brisk performance, or anything in between, our wide assortment covers all the bases.

Guides & Articles

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Laforza Accessories & Parts Reviews

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4.5 of 5
Product very good. Love it.
Posted by Jojie Menor (Mississauga, ON) / August 8, 20182010 Toyota Corolla
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