Rio Colorado (8m), a 40+ knot Classic Boat gem (1963)


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Rio Colorado

This is the 1960s and most day boats are made of wood. They are small, nimble and fast boats; and elegance is certainly not a component that is lacking. In a landscape composed of hulls fully children of the dolce vita, handcrafted by shipyards that have gone down in history, a great little hull sometimes goes unnoticed. Unfairly. It is the Rio Colorado, later the Rio Super Colorado, a massive 8 meters that, to this day, fascinates like few others. Designed and built by the then Rio Avionautica, now known as the
Rio Yachts
, was the yard’s flagship, a small cabin cruiser capable of 40 knots and strong in a class hardly seen again outside that historical period.

Rio (Super) Colorado

In the 1960s Rio was undergoing a revolution in its productions, and the yard’s signature creatures were undoubtedly part of a small pool of excellence. Indeed, in 1961 the first Rio was born, the legendary
Rio Espera
(we tell you about it here), followed by the
Rio Bonito
a year later. In 1965 another great classic, the Rolls Rio (here), another great gem from the yard. It was at this juncture that the
Rio Colorado
, a small 1963 masterpiece, later revised and enhanced into the
Super Colorado
, capable of reaching 45 knots thanks to super-powerful gasoline engines with up to 660 total horsepower.

Rio Colorado
Rio Colorado
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Rio Colorado – Design & Features

In 1963 owning a Rio Colorado was no small thing. At 8.20 meters long, 2.62 meters wide and capable of flying at 40 knots thanks to Chrysler’s twin 177-horsepower engines, she was a coveted runabout, an elegant and classy hull capable of providing fun on day trips, as well as refreshment and shelter, by night as by day, in her double berth in the forward cabin.

Rio Colorado
Rio Colorado

The smooth, elegant lines drew a hull that was particularly pleasing both to the eye and to the helm, making it one of the most successful hulls of its period. The bow was, as usual, clear, separated from the cockpit by a curved windshield, protecting the wheelhouse and passenger seats. Behind this, a settee occupied the entire cockpit beam, followed by a sunbed recessed on the aft, full-beam momentum and extended to the transom. The seats on the bridge were folding, and there was no shortage of all the appropriate accessories, from the canopy to shelter the cockpit, to the “artificial ventilation” system below deck, from the anchor windlass, to the ever-present cigarette lighter on the bridge. In short, it was no small success, so much so that a GT (Gran Turismo) version and a Super version soon followed.

Rio Colorado – Super

Given the success of the hull, a revised and, more importantly, upgraded version could not be missed. Within a few years the Rio Super Colorado was thus born. It is longer, it is better equipped and, particularly, it is more powerful, much more powerful, and therefore faster.

Rio Super Colorado

Lengthening the hull, first of all, from 8.2 to 8.45 meters, the Super Colorado is actually little heavier than its predecessor, with only 100 kilos more at displacement. The design is barely revised but does not change significantly, nor does the layout. A retractable ladder is added at the stern for easy boarding, and a bar with cooler appears in the cockpit.

Rio Colorado
Rio Super Colorado

It is the engines, in particular, that are changing. The options, now, are twofold. The Colorado’s two 177-horsepower Chryslers are replaced by a pair of Chris Craft 327Q V8s of 235 horsepower each, or, by two Chrysler M440BW V8s, 660 total horsepower in this case. Thus speed increases, exceeding 45 knots, just as consumption increases, however, from 22 liters per hour per engine, to 66 liters per hour total, super gasoline, in this case.

Rio Super Colorado’s refrigerated food carrier


Data Sheet

Length Over All (LOA) 8.20 m 8.45 m
Maximum beam 2.6 m 2.60 m
Fishing 0.55 m 0.56 m
Displacement 2,700 kg 2,800 kg
Motorization(s) 2 x Chrysler Sea-V M 80 177 hp 2x Chris Craft 327Q-V8 235 hp

2x Chrysler M440BW-V8 330 hp.

Maximum Speed 40 kn 45 kn
Fuel Tank Capacity 430 lt. 420 L (Super Gasoline)
Hourly consumption 22 l/h x 2 66 l/h
Boardable persons 10 9
Beds 2 2
Cabins 1 1
Construction site Rio Yachts Rio Yachts

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