What on earth is a LaForza?

What on earth is a LaForza?
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The official name of this car is Laforza. It is said to have been designed by Tom Tjaarda, it has a big V8 and four-wheel drive. But it isn’t American and it isn’t actually named LaForza. 

Not every automobile manufacturer manages to become big and famous. Take Rayton Fissore, for instance. They designed a few different cars that were never built. Then they finally got a car that was more or less successful … and they went building it under another name.

The history of Rayton Fissore is pretty mysterious. It was apparently founded in 1976, probably by a relative of Bernardo Fissore, owner of the Italian carrozzeria of the same name. Some sources say that it was his son, others say it was his daughter Fernanda and her husband, who, by the way, was not named Rayton.

The company first introduced a little sportscar named Golden Shadow, which looked like a shrunken Porsche 928. It was based on the Autobianchi A112, production of the car never started.
In 1983 RF presented a prototype of a taxi, based on the mechanics of the Fiat Ritmo. But again, it was never produced.

Iveco 4×4

Then in 1984 this SUV was launched, the Rayton Fissore Magnum. Its mechanics came from Iveco, where it was designed as a military vehicle. The body was, according to various sources, designed by Tom Tjaarda.

Now he was a great designer, but this design clearly is not one of his best. The boxy car looks like a Fiat Uno on steroids and is at best quite boring.

The Magnum was launched in the mid-1980’s, a period when luxury 4×4 cars were getting popular.

The Range Rover was leading the market of course, in the luxury Vogue edition that was equipped with the luxury that you would expect of a high-end limousine.

So the Rayton Fissore Magnum was turned into a luxury 4×4 too.

It was available with turbo diesel engines or V6 petrol engines, automatic transmission and an interior that looked as if it came straight out of a Maserati Quattroporte.


Finally, Rayton Fissore had a car that the market wanted. Though it is not clear how many Magnums were produced, there must have been hundreds at least.

Quite a few of those cars went to the United States of America.

In 1989 the first Magnums arrived there. They were fitted with Ford 5.0 liter V8-engines and a new dashboard, but also a new name. Somehow ‘Rayton Fissore’ was thought not to be the right name in the American market and the Italian 4×4 was now named LaForza.

The LaForza Magnum was sold in the USA until 2003. Over the years, several V8-engines were used in the car. By 1999, even a GM 6.0 liter V8 with Eaton supercharger was available.

Tom Tjaarda

It is that version that is on sale with auction house RM Sotheby’s in Fort Lauderdale, on April 6.

It is a 1998 car that looks to be in great condition. But… what is that Pininfarina logo doing on the doors?

Someone must have glued that on, but it is very clear that there is no other Magnum with this logo on it and for a reason.

Because in all documentation the only designer that is mentioned, is Tom Tjaarda.
Apart from that, the car is estimated at USD 15,000 to 20,000.

It is not the only LaForza that RM Sotheby’s has for sale. At their auction in Auburn on May 10 to 12, this 1989 LaForza is to be sold.

This black 4×4 has a Ford 5.0 liter EFI V8. It is estimated a bit lower than the other one at USD 10,000 to 15,000.

And then there’s this one. This actually has the name Rayton Fissore, it is a Magnum 2.5 diesel from 1997 and it is for sale in Italy. 

Foto Autoscout24

The seller wants EUR 15,000.

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