Rare Rides: The Beautiful and Illustrious Fornasari 99, From 2012

Today’s Rare Ride hails from a brand your author hadn’t heard of until this tweet yesterday. My fingers could not fly fast enough to obtain more information on this beautiful spectacle of an off-road luxury grand touring SUV. Are your eyes ready?

Fornasari was founded in Italy sometime in 1999, and named after its founder Giuseppe Fornasari. Mr. F worked with investors and some of his friends to start up an all-new off-road luxury car firm. Fornasari had an interest in sporty motorcars since the early Nineties. He purchased a Corvette (the C4, very good) in the U.S. and wanted to take it racing. It’s unclear whether that occurred, but what is clear is that Fornasari did make several different models in the early 2010s, seven to be exact.

The largest of the brand’s portfolio was the 99 (sometimes called RR99). The only four-door car the company produced, it was considered to possess all the qualities of a grand touring car, a luxury sedan, and a real off-road machine, wrapped into one special and beautiful package.

Power arrived from the Corvette which Fornasari loved so much, in either 6.2- or 7.0-liter V8 guises. That meant power on offer ranged from 500 to 750 horses, depending on how fast a buyer wanted to escape good taste. For the more frugal a 3.0-liter turbodiesel was introduced sometime later, though it managed a more measly 250 horses. Transmissions on offer were of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic varieties. Standard drivetrain configuration was four-wheel drive, but rear-wheel drive was also available.

Widely configurable in its appearance, the 99 was a custom-order vehicle that was built to suit the desires of its customer. Paint and interior colors, “formula” ready brakes, and touring or off-road suspensions. Even the body material was configurable: Spendy customers chose carbon fiber, but aluminum was an option as well. Interiors were an amalgam of what look to be Cadillac DTS and STS components, alongside some other bits of unknown origin. Headlamps arrived via Aston Martin, tails from Lamborghini. Truly a global effort, though the below video shows some body roll not quite up to Aston or Lamborghini standards.

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It’s unclear how many 99s were produced, or in fact how long the company was actually in business. Safe bet very few exist, and I couldn’t find any 99 sale listings present or past. The company’s website (still up and running) debuted in 2011 but was not updated past September 2012. Fornasari did participate in racing for a couple of years while it was building its sports luxury cars. Per Wiki, the company went bust by 2015.

[Images: Fornasari]

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