You know what's better than having a BMW-powered Daihatsu by Bertone? Having two, for parts and all. But the Bertone Freeclimber can also get beaten by a Pininfarina-badged, Vortec-powered, super rare SUV aimed right at your neighbor's beefed up Range Rover.
Welcome to You Must Buy, our daily look at the cars you really should be buying instead of that boring commuter sedan.
To understand what the Laforza Magnum Edition is, we have to go back to the 1985 Turin Motor Show. That's where the Rayton-Fissore Magnum 4x4 had its debut, which was supposed to be a military vehicle before former Ghia and then Pininfarina designer Tom Tjaarda turned it into a luxury SUV. The Magnum was based on the shortened and lowered chassis of an Iveco military truck, while its suspension, diffs and brakes came straight off the all-wheel drive version of Iveco's commercial van.
Tjaarda was known as the man responsible for all shapes and sizes at DeTomaso, but when Alejandro's production numbers seemed to high, he also found his way into proper stillborn projects such as the , or Bugatti's Suzuki-based mass-market sports car in 1992. The Magnum fit the bill just fine with its Fiat taillights and rubber-mounted square tubular body structure.
In its early days, the Tjaarda's dream SUV was a Europe-only model, available with either a Sofim turbodiesel, Lancia's supercharged 2.0, or an Alfa V6. In 1988, the first facelift has arrived, with the option of either a VM Motori or BMW turbodiesel, or the Bavarians' 3.4 inline-six.
More importantly, the 1988 Magnum finally went to America as the Laforza, featuring a reinforced frame, and a completely new drivetrain with Ford's 5.0, automatic overdrive, and a New Process 229 transfer case. The Americanized car also got new bumpers, different tail lights, and an upgraded dash.
The car RM Auctions will have on offer without reserve at its on Friday, April 6 is arguably the best cut of Laforzas, believed to be one of the last five constructed.
While Laforza was toying with the Mustang's supercharged engine between 1995 and 1998, the third generation Magnums were really the right SUVs for your Range Rover-chasing needs. First, these late editions got the Ford Explorer's goods, with an optional Eaton supercharger. Then, Laforza moved on to using GM's 6.0 Vortec V8, supercharged, connected to a four-speed auto.
With 350+ horsepower controlled via a sweet Momo steering wheel, the 1998 Laforza Magnum is perfection just high enough off the mud. Have no doubt.