Supercharged SUV: 1989 LaForza – SOLD!
July 27th Update: While reviewing recent listings we confirmed this rare LaForza’s original listing expired, so we’re assuming that it has been sold.
There are certainly all manners of obscure or forgotten makes and models, but few of them are more curious than the infamous Laforza SUV. If we were to put it into modern terms, it’s a cross between a Mercedes G-Wagen and an Escalade, a 4×4 that touted both its opulence and off-road abilities. Later models like this 1989 example listed here on Craigslist for $12,000 in Williston, Vermont even got a serious performance boost with a Kenne Bell supercharged bolted onto the familiar Ford 302 V8. These features were certainly well intentioned but not enough to save the brand from its eventual demise, and today, they remain the individual’s choice to a Radwood-friendly SUV with decent off-road credentials. Checking the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool shows a value of $12,800 when graded in “Excellent” condition, but that doesn’t account for the supercharger. The cosmetics let this one down a bit, but if you need to find out more, you can reach the seller by email here.
Although its Italian heritage naturally opens the door for jokes about poor reliability and wonky engineering, the Laforza is actually made of some fairly durable components. It can trace a shared lineage to the IVECO VM90 military SUV, a significant calling card when it comes to evaluating its off-road credentials. Throw in the cheap running costs of a Ford 302, significantly enhanced with a Kenne Bell supercharger kit, and you had a respectable formula for an SUV that can perform on-road and off. The interiors were quite opulent, not entirely different from a Maserati Biturbo of the same era, and proving once again, that no one stuffs an interior chock-full of luxurious appointments quite like the Italians do. Downside? It is an orphan brand with a very small following in the U.S., and finding parts will prove challenging unless you happen to find a parts vehicle to keep in your side yard. Still, the seller lists several resources for parts in his listing that make it seem less intimidating to own a truck like this.
Now, this is normally the sort of vehicle you’d want to buy with a few binders full of service records. However, the drivetrain isn’t exactly exotic, even with the supercharger, which solves at least one potential headache. Harder to find will be plastic switchgear and trim that is almost certainly no longer in production, and other elements of the interior that didn’t take kindly to neglect when new. Thick leather and burled wood covers nearly ever surface inside, and given we have no pictures to prove otherwise, I have to wonder if the cabin is in fairly rough shape. Still, with 250 horsepower on tap courtesy of the supercharger kit, surprising a few kids in WRXs never looked more entertaining. Good luck with this oddball SUV should you decide a high-octane 4×4 is on your bingo card.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1989 LA FORZA SUV ALL WHEEL DRIVE POWERED BY A FORD 302 WITH A KENNY BELL SUPERCHARGER & THROTTLE BODY CALIFORNIA LEGAL. FULL STAINLESS STEEL SNAKES NEST EXHAUST SYSTEM. A VERY RARE VEHICLE WITH AN EVEN RARER KENNY BELL SUPERCHARGER SYSTEM.
Laforza’s were built in California by a small team of well known hot rod builders. Base chassis is a Fiat Military SUV with full military suspension. Amazing tuning radius. Almost in it’s own length. Ford Automatic with Hi & Low range 4 wheel drive. Same transmission as used in some Jeeps of the same vintage. Super ground clearance. They were built as High Security Transport for wealthy clients in dangerous countries as well as anyone who wanted to own a SUV with Unrivaled Power and specifications.
Offered with full service manuals, spare parts. Supercharger is a Swiss based cage modified for road use by Kenny Bell.
For more information I suggest you go on line and search for Laforza information and promotional videos.
Parts are still available. Supercharger parts and lubrication can be sourced from JB Performance. JB is world’s Primer Supercharger Rebuilder and on line parts store. La Forza parts are available from a dealer in California who bought up all the stock when La Forza closed. Fiat military chassis parts are available from same source. Ford motor and transmission parts are still being offered for sale. All of the major systems are American sourced.
A Monster SUV with tow hitches front and rear. 12 VDC jumper plugs front and rear. 8,000 lb Towing Capacity.
Offered for $ 12,000.00 or Best Offer AS IS.
Text for location and viewing vehicle.
Text messages only. Will not respond to e-mails or phone calls.”
Do you have a LaForza story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!