100 years ago Carlo Riva, the inventor of the world’s most beautiful boats, was born

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Carlo Riva and at the top left, the legendary Bridge
Carlo Riva and top left, the legendary Bridge, his office

It was 2017 when the world mourned the passing of one of the most brilliant figures in the world of powerboats: the inimitable Carlo Riva. Father of some of the most beautiful powerboats of the 20th century, he was born on Feb. 24, 1922, and would have been 100 years old today. To celebrate this anniversary let’s look at some models that have made history.

Wooden Riva motorboats: some boats are forever

For some people they are the most beautiful in the world, others would go to great lengths to get them, and there are probably even some who don’t like them, for who knows what reason. But one thing is certain: everyone knows the Riva. A British magazine in the 1990s conducted a poll among its readers about which boat name they knew best. The result? Aquarama, one of Riva’s cult models. There are few countries in the world where Carlo Riva’s boats have not arrived.

The period between the 1960s and 1970s, when all the celebrities from the movies and beyond spent their vacations on the French Riviera aboard their Ariston or Aquarama left an indelible imprint and played a role in the consecration of the brand, so much so that even today a Riva refers back to those images and protagonists as well.

The most beautiful Riva speedboat of all

There is also a classic Riva that, according to many, deserves the title “most beautiful of all.” Among the supporters of the thesis is Carlo Riva himself. “The Ariston is the boat I fell in love with,” explains Piero Gibellini, president of the Riva Historical Society, founded by Carlo Riva himself in 1998 – I purchased one in 1989. For me and for the Engineer (Carlo Riva ed.) it was, and is, the most beautiful. This design has the appeal of disregarding all market and usage logics. You can’t say it’s the most comfortable, but it’s the absolute purest.”

From the early 1950s it was the Ariston that was the only model that remained on the list throughout the Carlo Riva management, in production until 1971. In time it was later joined by the Super Ariston, slightly longer and more powerful, which remained in production until 1974.

“When we talk about the most beautiful, we cannot forget the Triton, which for a long time was one of the top models and the predecessor of the Aquarama, which was later born on the same hull. The appeal of the Triton was so strong that it took Aquarama about five years to get it out of production.”

The Aquarama, Riva’s speedboat par excellence

The Aquarama is perhaps of all models the most famous and was born at the explicit request of customers who wanted a more practical Triton. In order not to spoil the perfect line of the boats-just think of the “Carlo Riva stern,” which develops as one seamless volume-the Triton was, when tested, impractical.

The Aquarama, which went into production in 1962, brought improvements, such as a sickle bar at the perimeter of the bow gunwale for resting your feet or an easier-to-reach stern sundeck. In 1969 came the last version of the hull, the smoothest in sailing, and the livability process culminated in 1972 with the Aquarama Special, born on the hull of the Super, which can be recognized by its more elongated stern, crossed by a walkway that ends in a swim platform (a solution we see today that is increasingly larger and on all types of boats) to make access to the water easier.

From the beginning of the century with the first prototypes, predating mass production, by Serafino Riva, who first tried his hand at building pleasure boats, making a name for himself in powerboating, wooden Rivas have spanned almost a century, until 1980 and the Olympic, the last remaining wooden model to be mass produced, excluding the Aquarama Special, which remained on the list until 1996, since ’90 produced on demand.

The Riva Triton

In 1950 the Triton made its appearance. This Riva powerboat is in fact the daddy of the Aquarama and is a twin-engine, 8.05-meter boat with a retro flavor. Formerly somewhat “snubbed,” today it is back in vogue. For a restored original model in perfect condition, the value is around €400,000.

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Check out all the Riva motorboats that made history here


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