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Fornasari Thor ready for (simulated) planetary exploration

Fornasari shows off the Thor UDV at the 2011 Geneva auto show.

Fornasari Thor UDV
This big orange vehicle is an Ultimate Deployment Vehicle, according to its builder.
Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Fornasari Thor UDV
This big orange vehicle is an Ultimate Deployment Vehicle, according to its builder. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

There's no reason why you would ever hear the name Fornasari. This Italian automaker has only been around since 1999 and produces fewer cars than Spyker. The company's line-up consists of one basic SUV platform mutated into a few variants, and a sports car platform. Engines are sourced from GM.

Yet Fornasari shows up at every Geneva auto show, filling its floor space with outlandish vehicles, such as an SUV resembling a yacht tender. At the 2011 Geneva auto show, Fornasari put forth its wildest concept yet, a toy for very big boys, the Thor UDV.

This vehicle, clad in bright orange bodywork, is hard not to notice. According to Fornasari, it came out of the company's Tactical Vehicles Group, and was developed in conjunction with Astro Bionix, an Austrian company that provides industrial emergency services, according to its Web site, and uses the slogan Air - Land - Sea - Space.

Fornasari Thor UDV
Many options are available, including cryogenic organ transport gear and land mine detection. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

UDV stands for Ultimate Deployment Vehicle. Fornasari specifies tasks for it such as simulated planetary exploration, scientific and rescue operations, paramilitary urban security, and exfiltration/infiltration. To accomplish these tasks, Fornasari specifies options such as night vision, a pressurized occupant compartment, cryogenic organ transport equipment, a land mine detection system, and a 7.62 mm Gatling gun.

The Thor UDV looks to be based on Fornasari's preexisting Racing Buggy, a vehicle built on a tubular frame, similar to purpose-built off-road rally cars. The engine is a 7-liter V-8 producing 600 horsepower and powering all wheels, which is most likely the LS9 engine used in the Corvette ZR1. It gives the Thor UDV a top speed of 174 mph. Fornasari also says the Thor UDV can ford water up to three feet deep, and has a range of 684 miles from its 54 gallon gas tank.

It sounds like a good vehicle to use for surviving the zombie apocalypse, as long as zombies aren't attracted to orange.