Saturday, January 23, 2010

Vanden Plas, Laforza and the End of a Quest

1979 Austin Vanden Plas Allegro (Vanden Plas 1500) -As I've written before, one of the reasons I love the Brits is that they'll take most any car and turn it into a luxury car. They do it well, too.

This is an Austin Vanden Plas Allegro. Technically it's called the Vanden Plas 1500. The Allegro was a small "economy" car, but in Vanden Plas guise the car becomes, as the seller of this one puts it, "as near as you can get to a small Rolls Royce".

Leather seats, deep carpeting, real wood dash and door cappings, picnic tables, you got it all in the Vanden Plas 1500.

What you didn't get was great acceleration or reliability. The 1500cc engine was adequate at best, and the failures of the Allegro have been written about ad nauseam.

This car is located in Yorkshire, UK. Being a 1979, you could bring it to the US without much of a problem.

Click here
to see the eBay listing.

1990 Laforza - "Maybe it would be more fun to WANT to own a Laforza instead of actually owning one." That sentence is from an e-mail a friend sent me. I was looking for reasons not to buy this vehicle.

Earlier in the week, I had e-mailed another friend, Jeff, looking for the same thing. His e-mail started off on the right track... "It's weird, it's Italian, they probably made exactly one more of each part than the number of cars produced, and there is no dealer network for parts at all." He pointed out a number of other reasons I shouldn't buy it, but then ended his e-mail with this line... "Let me know when you want a ride to get it." Jeff knows me way too well.

I have wanted a Laforza ever since I first laid eyes on one back in the late 1980s. Oddly, it was at a British car show. The price was steep and since I tend to buy used cars and let someone else take the huge depreciation hit, I figured I'd wait a few years to buy one. In a few years Laforza was out of business and used ones were not around. Laforza came back though. A California company started making them again. I was psyched. So psyched, in fact, that I bought stock in the company. I should have used the money to buy one of the trucks. In a few years that company was gone, too.

For the past several years I've scoured the internet looking for a good used Laforza. It was a quest. I'd see some, but many were way over priced. There's this myth out there that the truck is somehow connected to Ferrari and some people were looking for Ferrari prices. Other, more reasonably priced Laforzas, were on the west coast. The inability to look at it in person and the cost of shipping a vehicle completely across the US, kept me away from those. I kept looking.

I found this one a week or so ago. I exchanged some e-mails with the seller and found out that while it's a project car, it's a project that is well within my abilities. The price was extremely reasonable and being just an hour or so away in Vermont, I could drive it home.

There must have been a doubt in my mind though. Normally I would have bought the car and called my friends on the ride home to tell them what I just bought. I don't know why I hesitated or wanted to be talked out of buying it. It finally dawned on me...

My friend's "maybe it would be more fun to WANT to own a Laforza instead of actually owning one" line was a revelation. That was it. If I bought this Laforza, the quest would be over. The fun was in the chase.

But there was more to it than just ending the quest. If I got a Laforza, would it be all I expected it to be, or would it be a disappointment?

The ironic part to this story is that I could have been in Vermont this weekend. Early last year I started dating a woman and we made plans to spend this weekend in Vermont. We would have been about 15 minutes away from the Laforza. I met her around 10 years ago when we were both involved with other people. Nothing came of it back then, but I always thought it would be great to date her. The opportunity came last year. It didn't take long for for me to realize she wasn't all I had made her out to be in my mind. The relationship ended. Wanting was better than having. I think it would have been the same with the Laforza.

The quest for a Laforza has been fun, but it's not what I need in my life right now. Deep down inside I must have known that, it just took that one sentence to bring it to the forefront of my mind.

It's time for a new quest, so I'm passing this Laforza on to you. Located in Essex, VT, click here to see the Craigslist listing.

You can find my earlier Laforza post here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave - I'll be in Essex VT this week, I can check out the Laforza, you know just in case you change your mind....