If you’ve long been hankering for a coach-built executive class SUV with easy to service American muscle under the hood then today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Laforza might just be your jam. Could that oddly specific wish fulfillment be worth the asking? We’ll just have to see.
It’s plainly obvious that David Tracy’s penchant for paying next to nothing for leprous off-roaders and then attempting to nurse said tetanus incubators one or more miles further than providence intended has rubbed off on many of you. How else could you explain the 88 percent Crack Pipe loss suffered by yesterday’s $8,200 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee? Hmm, maybe it was those weird seats.
The Grand Cherokee was another of Jeep’s forays into the luxury SUV market, something that, at the time was growing like crazy. Major manufacturers like Toyota and Mercedes recognized the money-making potential of fancy four-by-fours at the time, and their wares were met by a number of new entrants into the market, one of which was Rayton-Fissore.
Yeah, I know, Ray-tun Fiss-a-who?
Carrozzeria Fissore was coachbuilder founded in Turin, Italy just after the end of WWI. Over the years the company established a solid reputation for upscale people movers, designing Italian suit editions of common carriers like Fiat’s Multipla. The 1970s saw Fissore moving even further upscale, constructing bodies for occasional Swiss car-builder Peter Monteverdi. One of those included the Range Rover-like Safari, which was a rebodied riff on the more pedestrian International Scout.
Rayton Fissore was established in 1976 as a spin-off of the coachbuilder company. Their most notable product was the Magnum, a luxury off-roader introduced to the U.S. market in 1985 as the Laforza.
The Magnum/Laforza rides on an Iveco truck chassis originally intended for military use. In Europe, the trucks were majoritively powered by a series of four-cylinder engines sourced from Fiat. A BMW turbo-diesel would come later.
For the U.S. market, Rayton Fissore decided on something a little more horsey, choosing Ford’s evergreen 5.0 V8 along with that marque’s four-speed AOD automatic. A Newprocess 229 two-speed transfer case split the provided 225 horsepower between the front and rear axles and everything bolted in place in the Iveco ladder frame chassis. Atop all that sat a cleanly styled but somewhat anonymous five-door aluminum body. The design was by Pantera-penner Tom Tajjarda, and it providing a roomy and airy cabin. Interestingly, the trucks were not built by Fissore, but at Pininfarina.
This 1995 Laforza looks a little rough around the edges. Despite that, the ad claims that it “Runs and drives great.” Issues include a clear coat that’s clearly not trying anymore and some rust bubbles beneath what’s left. That exacerbates the issue with the unflattering paint color, but shouldn’t be too much trouble to address. According to the ad, the power steering pump is also a problem, but seeing as it’s a Ford part, you could probably pick a new one up at Pep Boys on the drive home.
The wheels are amazingly still the factory alloys and those appear to carry Goodyear tires with a decent amount of tread. The body seems straight, and the truck still carries its elegant Pininfarina script on the forward edge of the front doors.
The Laforza’s interior is awash in leather and wood, as befits a luxury ride. The leather on the seats here looks to have seen better days, but the chairs themselves should still be able to keep your ass off the floor.
The backbench seems to be in much better shape and features three divots each with a corresponding L embroidered headrest atop. We don’t get to see the back bay, but it’s probably not all that exciting anyway. Poorly tinted windows mar the view from outside as well.
If you’re from California one of the first things you probably noticed is that the registration tags on the truck are out of date. That can portend expensive retroactive payments but in this case the truck has been claimed as non-op so all it will need is a smog certificate and the current year to hit the road legally. The title is clear and there’s only 85K on the clock at present.
To get it making more of those miles, you’d need to come up with the seller’s asking price. Unlike yesterday’s same-year Jeep, this Laforza comes in at almost pocket change level. The seller wants $2,700 for it and issues aside, that’s a lot of truck for the money.
Is it a deal, however? That’s what we’re about to find out.
What’s your take on this Laforza and that $2,700 price? Does that seem like a fair deal to dive into the weird SUV lifestyle? Or, is even that meager amount too much for something so odd and with a name that sounds like an airport duty-free cologne?
H/T To Mark Helmuth for the hookup!
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