Agnelli legacy. Lawyer’s 10 most beautiful motorboats

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The boats of Gianni Agnelli - legacy

The Agnelli/Elkann tussle is holding court in Italian newspapers today. The object of contention? It is the legacy of Gianni and Marella Agnelli, and clashing are Margherita Agnelli and her children John, Lapo and Ginevra Elkann.

Also entered into the comparison were the many boats that Gianni Agnelli owned. This is because of the search for unreported treasure of which boats owned through foreign companies are part. A situation, this, that Margherita Agnelli said would put her at a disadvantage in the inheritance. Matters of wool. We simply review the best powerboats of the lawyer who, as an owner, was a true visionary.

Gianni Agnelli’s fleet

Shipowner, lover of the sea and innovator. Boats, Gianni Agnelli, had them in his blood from a young age. As we wrote in Motor Boats No. 30:

“it is not always yards or designers who create trends. Or rather, sometimes it takes a spark to light the fuse of genius, some chance encounter that sets ideas in motion. If we think about how power boating has changed over the past 70 years from the small open to the large yacht, we can quite easily identify a figure who, in his own way, has influenced the way we sail on the sea today. Let’s start with an anecdote. Do you know who it was that provided the impetus for the birth of cult boats like the Wallytender, from which the chase boat or shadow boat phenomenon was born? No, we are not talking about Luca Bassani, but about the one who somehow inspired him: Gianni Agnelli (1921-2003).

Below we look at 10 of the most famous motor boats owned by Gianni Agnelli.


KUM – 1950

Kum, an American-built speedboat built in 1950, was the first motor boat owned by Agnelli, who purchased it when he was 29 years old.

Covenant (formerly GIM) – 1952

In ’52 from the Baglietto shipyard in Varazze, Agnelli bought the Gim, an open with a sporty hull, a sleek bow, and a slide stern that had been built in 1940 for Fascist party secretary Ettore Muti, whose nickname was indeed “Gim with green eyes.” The Advocate had some upgrading work done and put it back in the water with a new name: Covenant.

Covenant (formerly GIM)
Covenant (formerly GIM)

Leopolda – 1958

Agnelli commissions Baglietto to build the Leopolda, a nearly 10-meter cabin cruiser powerboat somewhere between an open and a cabin cruiser

Leopolda, 9.50 m cabin cruiser commissioned in 1958
Leopolda, 9.50 m cabin cruiser commissioned in 1958

G.A. 30 – 1961

G.A. 30, built by Baglietto in Varazze. 30 indicated the maximum speed, G.A. stands for Gianni Agnelli. To do this, Agnelli brought architect Amedeo Albertini, author of his villa in the hills of Turin, to Baglietto to work on the interior of the GA 30. With him was, as a studio junior, Paolo Caliari, destined to become one of the most highly regarded contemporary yacht designers. From that experience, in fact, he stayed on to work in the shipyard alongside Pietro Baglietto bringing a breath of fresh air to the boating industry. Returning to the GA 30, this yacht was a turning point in performance: powered by three diesel engines this ninety-footer reached 30 knots, impressive numbers for the time.

GA 30 Gianni Agnelli
GA 30 Gianni Agnelli

Last Goddess – 1962

Ultima Dea is Agnelli’s first offshore racing boat (“Sonny” Levi design) with which he competed in the 1961 Cowes-Torqay.

“It was at the first Genoa Boat Show,” says Sonny Levi in the book Dhows to Deltas. – 1962 that I was approached by Pietro Baglietto, an internationally renowned builder of luxury cabin cruisers, who asked me if I would be interested in designing a boat for one of his clients with the goal of winning the 1962 Cowes-Torquay regatta. At that time I did not know who the potential owner was, but I accepted the challenge with great enthusiasm. The boat that was born was the Ultima Dea, and the owner was the well-known industrialist Giovanni Agnelli, president of the Fiat car company.”

Last Goddess
Last Goddess

The offshore boat he had built, Ultima Dea, was an evolution of A’ Speranziella, a hull that in 1961 had taken part in the very first Cowes-Torquay, organized by the editor of the British Daily Mail newspaper. “I took off like a rocket and stayed in the lead for long stretches,” Levi recounted following that first time of the Cowes Torquay, “and memorable photos were taken from the planes that ended up on the pages of all the newspapers while the sea was at force five and seemed to be boiling. I finished seventh because of a breakdown and everyone remembered me and forgot about the winner.”

It was the performance delivered by A’ Speranziella in that premiere that impressed the Advocate, prompting him to want a similar one. For the record, A’ Speranziella had to wait only a couple of years to win the race, in 1963. The Lawyer, however, took part in the 1962 edition at the helm of Ultima Dea built by Cantieri Naval-tecnica of Anzio and equipped with three Maserati gasoline engines, which together delivered 1,380 horsepower. Agnelli competed, then, only one other time, at the Italian Viareggio-Bastia-Viareggio. Both experiences were all in all negative, technical problems were the order of the day, and the Advocate fell victim to them. This, however, did not discourage him, and another bolide, Ultima Volta, was born.

Last Time – 1966

Last Time, nomen omen of Agnelli’s offshore experience. A very fast 11 meters, but never completed a race. Powered by a single (huge) 900-horsepower Carraro diesel, this 11-meter was employed in 1966 and the driver showed all his grit, leading the early part of the French Dauphine d’Or race. But he was forced to retire by yet another mechanical failure. Thus ended Agnelli’s offshore pilot career. This boat bore its own resemblance to a legendary design for vintage offshore enthusiasts, namely the Surfury, but more importantly, the team of carpenters from Anzio who built it shortly thereafter gave birth to the Delta Shipyard.

G Fifty – 1967

G Fifty, the perfect boat for Gianni Agnelli. Four engines, 55 knots of top speed, a small cabin. For recreational use. The partnership between Sonny Levi and this yard gave birth to cult boats such as the Hidalgo, but more importantly, it was from this yard that the “perfect boat” according to Gianni Agnelli, the G. Cinquanta, came out. In 1967 the entrepreneur went to Levi’s with a clear idea in mind: he no longer wanted a pure offshore, but a design model that was more stylish and comfortable, but still very fast. The brief, as we would say today, was as essential as it was evocative:

“I need a fast commuter ,” said the Advocate. – comfortable in rough seas and making at least 50 knots. You know, I’d like to get to the finish line of an offshore race-before the winner.”

G 50
G50 – Remi Dargegen ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Built by Delta Shipyards at the end of knots she made 55, powered by four BPM Vulcan engines totaling 1,280 horsepower. Offshore experience, where designs were often taken to extremes, was harnessed to create a hull that could maintain a sustained gait, glide smoothly, and be maneuverable even at low rpm. The arrangement of the motors (two central V-drives and two in the axis line on the outside) and propellers had been developed precisely to achieve a good compromise between top speed and ease of operation. For speed came models such as the Adagio, built by Delta of Fiumicino in 1981 and all the rage in the 1980s.

ADAGING – 1981

Adagio was another fast cabin cruiser built by Delta of Fiumicino in 1981. All the rage in the 1980s.

F100 CRN – 1983

F100, built by CRN, is a cult, considered the first “explorer yacht” in history. The progenitor of this category was the F100, one of Gianni Agnelli’s most famous yachts, which was commissioned from CRN in 1983 and became the progenitor of a genre of boats that today, with all its evolutions, is a major player in the large yacht market. At that time, the F100’s nearly 33 meters were mind-boggling numbers, and it was, no doubt, partly because of this project that CRN established itself and had a major boost to what it has become today. Before that moment, in fact, nothing so large had ever left the site.

F100 Lambs
F100 Lambs

The lines traced those of a classic tugboat repurposed for recreational use while the initials “100” stood for the construction number of the CRN shipyard in Ancona. If his sailboats, the lawyer used them primarily for fun, the F-100 was designed, on the other hand, as a means of service, capable of providing maximum comfort and services in the “smallest” possible size. In any case, a space had been designed on the deck for the helicopter, an inseparable companion to be able to combine work commitments and sea outings. The yacht, then, as well as modern explorers had immense range and no noise, but also only one engine.

“I have too much faith, by profession, in engines,” Gianni Agnelli said in an interview with Vincenzo Zaccagnino, “to agree to have dual motorization on my yacht.

VOLTURE

Agnelli’s latest boat, an Australian-built powerboat also used as a tender for his F 100. His name was Volture, and legend has it that it was this large support boat that inspired Bassani’s Wally Tender.



Image source:

 

  • Baglietto Historical Archives
  • Motor Boats Archive
  • Remi Dargegen ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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