Archive for the ‘riva classic boats’ Category

$975,000 wood runabout boat sold

mecum auction Riva Aquarama wood boat cruising boat photo

this Classic wood Riva Aquarama runabout boat sold for $975,000

This was the price paid at auction for a very original boat. She was a single cockpit Riva Aquarama first sold on December 23, 1998 as a new boat. This boat number 774 was presented as the last Riva wood Aquarama Special as sold by Cantieri Riva as they made their final step in boat building into fiberglass boats from wood hulls.

It is said to be a low engine hour (less than 20 total engine in operation hours) boat. This classic is a twin engine boat that had a speed “approaching 55 mph or 90 kmh” according to the sales information. She is powered by her original big block 454 Chevy engines made to Riva specs by Crusader engines in the USA.

She still had her original varnish as done by the Riva factory. Her chrome bright work was original. The original owners and sellers of this boat at this $975,000 sale price, the founding family of Sony Electronics, said it came with full documentation paperwork to support the boat’s history. A very special one owner boat. You can see from the Mecum Auction supplied photos that the boat was properly stored, serviced, and maintained over her lifetime.

Roberto Franzoni authored a great boat about Riva; the family, the shipyard, and the boats as well as the yachts. His book called Riva was published in Italy in 1986 and is an out-of-print collector type book. ISBN 88-85058-48-5. Naturally copies are hard to come by now in 2012. They do not come around often, so any pricing is not related to the original price. Just like this number 774 Riva Aquarama. If you want one of these books, get it when one comes up for sale on sites like as a copy of a hard back book.

boat photo of Riva Aquarama wooden boat cockpit

Mecum Auction supplied these photos of the wood Riva Aquarama boat

Riva classic wood boats and movie stars

actress Brigitte Bardot in her Classic wood Riva boat

movie star Brigitte Bardot in her classic wood Riva boat

Brigitte Bardot was the movie’s ever first “sex kitten” movie star. She modeled for Elle magazine at the age of 15. By age 22, she played the lead role in the Roger Vadim movie And God Created Women. This was the type of actress that then morphed into the sex movement of the 1960s. She owned several Riva wood Boats.

Elizabeth Taylor owned at least one Riva boat. Taylor was a movie star in some 50 films over her lifetime. She was best known for her role in Cleopatra. Miss Taylor was married eight times (twice to Richard Burton), suffered from over 70 illnesses. She loved jewels, men, and eating.

Back in 1966, Carlo Riva, then owner of Riva boats, was interviewed for a magazine. In that interview, he related how he used nine coats of varnish; four sprayed, and five brushed on and hand rubbed. He went on to say that all Riva wood boats were tested in the water for at least sixty hours before it was sold.

Carlo then said that his stainless steel metal came from Sweden, his windshield glass from Belgium, the wood screws from England, the boats various textiles from Italy, and his boat’s engines from the United States.

Interestingly, a twin engine wood Riva boat took 36 days to make while a single screw inboard Riva took only half as long at that time.

He and his customers preferred, based on purchase patterns, Chevy engines five to one over the 290 Horsepower 413 Chrysler engines. Most of those Chevy engines were rated at 185 horsepower at that time.

Photos from Riva boats.

classic wood Riva boat at the stern of Elizabeth Taylor's yacht

Elizabeth Taylor and her yacht and her Riva wood boat

special interior shown in a classic Riva wood boat with Anita Ekberg

1960 photo of movie star Anita Ekberg in her classic wood Riva

Riva and Super Riva Aquarama plus the Long Super Aquarama are Classic Wood Boats

wood boat photo riva aquarama underway

Riva Aquarama at just above idle speeds

The best known Riva entered production in 1963 with 21 boats built. Its wood hull was based on the Riva Tritone model. The first three wood boats were carvel planked, but then laminated hull sides were used from all the hulls from then on. These laminated boat construction pieces proved to make for a better looking boat, especially as the classic boat ages.

The bottom shape was changed from the prototype model for all boats, starting with boat 34. By hull #178, built around 1967, the bottom shape was changed again to give a better ride at cruising speeds. By 1969, the hull shape above the waterline, the stem, and a different bow cap were instituted. The first boat with this change was 309. The height of the hull side was raised after #315 at the stern quarters.

Aquarama Riva model boats came in several hull lengths from 26’ 3’, 27’, 27’ 3”, 27’ 7”, and 27’ 9” but are routinely called as around 28 feet long or almost 29 feet in Length over all (LOA). The 29 foot boats are called “long Aquarama”. All of these classic wood boats are just under 8’ 6” in beam.

Horsepower sets a Super Aquarama off from a Aquarama. Figure on from about 370 total horsepower on the low side to most having about 640 total Horsepower with one boat showing as having 800 combined horsepower. All the boats are twin engine boats and feature wood framing as well as planking of the hull and deck of these classics.

Thanks to Riva and MBBW for the photos.

classic wood boat photo of a riva aquarama splitting the waves

Spray is thrown down and away Aquarama classic wood boat photo

wood boat photo of framing on Riva

Riva boat framing classic boat photo

Head on photo of a classic Riva wood boat side planking sheets

New side planking sheets for Classic wood Riva

Book on the boats and boatyard of Riva by Roberto Franzoni

Riva Aquarama wood boat photo

Simply put, the book to have about Riva boats. It was copyrighted / printed in Italy and is now out-of-print. You have to search for a used copy. My thought for you? Get one when it is listed for sale as they do not become available all the time.

Riva covers the wood boat era of Riva including the Aquarama, which is to be the featured marque at the Lake Tahoe Antique and Classic Boat Society show this year. That should add value to this book as that is a popular Classic Boat show. The book also covers the Ariston and Super Ariston and why they are different from each other. The book also covers the Florida, SuperFlorida, and Tritone boat models as well.

Some say that until Carlo Riva, a runabout was called a “Chris Craft” like when cellophane tape was called “Scotch Tape” by many. The Chris Craft brand was that strong post-World War II. His boats were the ones to successfully challenge “Chris Craft” as the boat to lust after when the most “carefree” era came forth to the world. He took his family’s boat yard and turned it into a legend after the war.

The boat, the ride, the service, the fellow boat owners all were perceived as the simply the best in the world. The history of Carlo and the Riva boat building yard is all covered in the book. It is one of the main sections within the structure of Roberto Franzoni’s book. While it has copy in English the text is international as other languages are also included. All the rare photos are captioned in three languages also.  Unique styling details are covered in equally rare drawings.

Movie stars were style leaders in the 1950s and they owned Rivas. Brigitte Bardot is shown behind the wheel of one of the several Riva runabouts that she owned. Peter Sellers is shown behind the helm of a Riva and Leslie Caron was photographed peaking out from inside a Riva bow cuddy cabin. Of course, Anita Ekberg was shown in a Riva runabout. That boat had a very special interior finish, by the way. Heads of State, royal families, Saudi Kings and others also are shown in their connection with Riva.

I could go on and on about this book, it is that special, but I will end now. Get one for yourself, if you find one.

Riva Aquarama wood boat photo of the cockpit interior

interior of a Riva wood boat photo

classic wood Riva boat photo

about 4.0 mil for Mecum Auction Results for Todd Warner Boats Collection

They will have more boat events upcoming. I’ll keep you posted.

Mecum Auction Results for Todd Warner Boats Collection

This past weekend, Mecum Auction and F. Todd Warner set antique boat pricing on its ear. Called the Warner Collection, it was amazing in size and gone/ sold at no reserve. No reserve brings up pricing on some items and brings down others if there is only one bidder.

What happened at this Auction? Some skids of antique boat parts went cheap.  A few boats went for what one would expect in this economy. A few boats may/may not have been a steal.

Without knowing condition; is the 1959  Century Coronado with a hardtop OK going for its $39,000 as a fair deal today? Another one, same year, same model, went for $6,000. Same Auction. Same crowd of bidders.

Boat Lust, Riva Aquarama, classic wood boat

A solid block of boat and yacht art in wood.

It is Lust on the water in a wooden boat.

The Riva Aquarama and Super Aquarama is the boat of Brigitte Bardot. Or Ted Kennedy (and friend) photographed with his swim suit down around his ankles before he got past middle age. Peter Sellers owned one. Leslie Caron has been associated with the yacht. Prince Rainer of Monaco and his family owned several. The Shah of Iran had his Riva air freighted to his local waters from the factory in the Lake country of Northern Italy.. The Riva Aquarama  and Riva Super Aquamara captured the LUST of boaters and landlubbers alike.

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AQUARIVA 2011 Riva boat / Riva yacht

…Marc Newson has partnered with Riva and their official designers, Officina Italiana Design, to reinterpret the ‘Aquariva’ (Super Aquarama) speedboat.

Newson’s design for the Aquariva vessel is unique in its conception, as well as the materials chosen. A wood-like, textile-based laminate (phenolic composite) was used for the deck area and instrument panel. This material was developed in the first half of the 20th century, and was a precursor to fibreglass. While having an ostensibly organic feel and aesthetic, it is significantly more durable than wood. To give the exterior a more high tech look, Newson utilized anodized aluminium, a material not generally associated with boats; this lightweight material is used in lieu of stainless steel and chrome brass, yet remains contextual among Riva’s glamour and classical design.

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Riva modern wood and glass real Runabout from Riva Yachts

layout cutaway for the Riva runabout

looking down

She goes as fast as the mid-40s with her twin diesels all the way wide open. At almost 6 tons she is a BIG wood and glass runabout. And, with her beam at 9’ 2” she needs a permit to haul her around on land.

Watch the ride when it gets rough, her deadrise is only a moderate v hull shape.

Made in Italy and sold mostly at Marine Max boat dealers. Yes, they usually have one Riva runabout boat for sale.

at speed

Riva yacht class

Wood and glass make for a nice day boat yacht

the skipper and the admiral

Riva Florida runabouts and Riva Super Florida runabout boats

riding bow high for the best control

Riva built this luxury runabout in Lake Como, Italy in wood and plywood from 1953 to 1968. The factory records indicate that 711 runabouts were made over this time frame.

A Super Florida Riva is a longer hull with 2” more beam than a Florida Riva model.  The hull was made bigger along with the new name to perform and ride better with a more powerful V-8 engine that became available as time progressed from the 1953 beginning of boat production.

These runabout boats all had a deeper forefoot than the typical Chris Craft of that time, while at the transom, the bottom was all but flat, as was the Chris Craft runabout.

This gives a better riding across the water experience at low speeds but these Riva need to get that sharp vee in the bow area out of the part of the hull that is in contact with the water as any speed increases. Why? What steers a boat should be the rudder. If a wave or wake at an angle catches the vee up front, that area can become a larger “rudder” than the boat’s metal rudder and the runabout will “bow steer” and the helmsman can not correct or over-come this redirection by the smaller area metal rudder that is attached to the steering wheel.

This vee forward is deeper than a Chris Craft

almost flat bottom at the stern

How to do prevent this action? Simple, balance and power the runabout such that the vee splits the waves and wakes at low speeds and weight balance, adjust the shaft down angle, and power to make the boat ride bow proud, or bow high, at speed. Without a power trim in a fixed shaft inboard, these three items are very important.

What happens as power causes the speed to go up? One must change one or all of these three design goals to work at the new, higher speed.

Over-power a straight shaft inboard and the flat transom stern area give more lift to the transom area of the runabout. Lift the transom and the bow gets pushed down at the same time. The lift of one pushes down the angle of the other.

The down angle of the inboard’s shaft also provides lift to the back of the boat. More lift from the almost flat bottom stern and down angle of the shaft causes the runabout bow to want to submarine and bow steer.

The fix?

1)      Change one or all of the three things to work together at the new speed to make for a safe riding / handling boat again.

2)      Have power trim on the drive to allow the helmsman to adjust amount of lift at the stern area of the boat. That is why I/Os (sterndrives) have power trim and that feature makes them more complicated.

What does this all mean? The runabout was set-up to perform well for an expected top speed: put in a souped up engine and that set-up will not perform well at the new top speed.

A good side view of how the vee goes to flat as the hull bottom moves aft