Chunky, expensive SUVs are generally more the domain of Germans, Englishmen and Americans than Italians. That is not surprising, because the Italian landscape also lends itself more to more compact, more agile cars. The country’s tax rules usually didn’t cooperate either. Under pressure from global demand, quite a few Italian SUVs have appeared in recent years, certainly also in the higher segments. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Maserati Levante and Lamborghini Urus are well-known examples, but recently the Ferrari Purosangue has become without a doubt the king of this genre. If we ignore the fact that Ferrari denies that this is an SUV, at least… There is, however, one Italian top SUV that is much less fresh in memory, but can still be counted among the top segment. According to tradition, this car is even specifically intended as an answer to the first Range Rover, the car that is widely seen as the first luxury SUV ever. This answer was the Rayton-Fissore Magnum and that immediately raises a lot of questions, for example because there is not a single word known from the car world in that jumble of names. Rayton-Fissore originated in the 1970s from Carrozzeria Fissore, one of the many Italian coachbuilders. Uno or BX? The Magnum appeared in 1985. Spacious after the Range Rover, but this strange-looking car was still (very) ahead of its time in many ways. For example, it was already clear from the outside that the emphasis here was much less on off-road characteristics than with the Range Rover, which was still really special for a long-legged car at the time. The car was given a five-door body with relatively small wheel arches, lots of glass and a strikingly sloping nose, a shape that still looks quite modern in the base. Certainly at the back, the Magnum is somewhat reminiscent of the Fiat Uno, which is not the best association for a car that must be expensive, tough and impressive. The rear lights even seem to come from the Uno, but secretly come from the Citroën BX. To mask that, a red, reflective border was added to the bottom. The headlights of early examples probably come from the parts bin of commercial vehicle manufacturer Iveco. That is also where the Rayton-Fissore borrows its chassis and powertrain, but inside that commercial vehicle base is completely unnoticeable. With many hectares of leather and wood, this interior is somewhat reminiscent of that of the Maseratis of that time. The fact that the finish here and there seems quite amateurish, only underlines that. This interior makes it unmistakably clear how the Magnum was intended: as a real luxury product, but on high legs. Exactly as we like to see it nowadays! V8 LaForza As is often the case with pioneers, the strange-looking SUV was certainly not a success. Still, he held on for a remarkably long time. According to Wikipedia, some 6,000 were built between 1985 and 1998, with various four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. They came from Fiat, but also from Alfa and BMW. The Italian luxury horse even made the switch to the US and was launched there in 1989 as ‘LaForza’. The Americans were not fobbed off with six-cylinders, so a V8 from Ford was mounted especially for the American market. A V8 from General Motors followed later and with multiple facelifts and other updates, this unique car reportedly lasted until 2003. In that year, the Range Rover had long been a household name and the segment of luxury SUVs had also been embraced by Lexus, Mercedes and BMW, apparently leaving no room for the wayward Italians.