The story of the ’58 Riva Tritone that belonged to Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly


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Photos by Michel deRuijter 2014
Photos by Michel deRuijter 2014

Yacht, French Riviera, 1950s. Imagine yourself now on the calm summer sea in a white linen shirt, glasses and that’s it. Now a question. What boat have you thought about? Clearly a Riva. If you are also in love with these yachts we have good news. Away, a perfectly restored ’58 Riva Tritone is up for auction. Where. On May 25 at Villa Erba–the one in George Clooney’s advertisements, to be clear–on Lake Como there will be an auction, organized by RM Sotheby, an auction house primarily for automobiles, but not only. Among the many cars there will also be two exceptional yachts

It’s not just any Riva Triton

Via is not just any Riva Triton (as if they were just any boats). In early 1958, Carlo Riva received a special order for a pair of Tritons from a wealthy Milanese textile industrialist, Mr. Gianoglio. A close relative of Prince Rainier III, reigning prince of Monaco, Mr. Gianoglio wanted to give the prince a Triton as a token of his admiration and gratitude. Thus, hull no. 62, Street, was born.

Photos by Michel deRuijter 2014
Photos by Michel deRuijter 2014

Adorned with red and white stripes, the colors of the Principality, it was powered by two Chris-Craft MCL engines, 5.5-liter, six-cylinder engines with 175 hp each at 3,400 rpm, both equipped with the automatic shifter called the “Chris-O-Matic,” launched at a time when the push-button automatic transmission fascinated the American auto industry.

A habituée of the Principality’s waters, Via went on to become the yacht of the young family formed after his marriage in 1956 to Princess Grace and was also the prince’s flagship, in keeping with naval etiquette and protocol, flying the flag of Monaco and the prince’s personal flag.

Andrea Piva 2019 Photos
Andrea Piva 2019 Photos

After Via, a Riva Jr.

Prince Rainier III eventually replaced his Triton with a smaller Riva Junior, used for short trips and water skiing with Princess Grace and their children. However, Via remained in its home port, always maintained by Riva in Monaco under the long-term custody of its second owner.

What about today?

A few years ago, after deciding to restore the faded boat to its original condition, a previous owner entrusted Via to a well-known Dutch specialist. The restoration lasted for several years, returning the Triton to its original specifications, including both original engines, which were completely rebuilt and refurbished. Newer technology has made it possible to reconstruct the famous Chris-O-Matic transmission with greater reliability. In 2014, the now fully restored boat was purchased by its current owner and returned to Monaco Harbor, where it has been regularly cared for by Monaco Boat Service and remains ready for use and enjoyment at a moment’s notice.

Data Sheet of the boat: Riva Triton

  • Length: 7.94 m
  • Width: 2.62
  • Motorization: 2xChris-Craft MCL
  • Weight:2680 kg

PHOTO BY Andrea Piva ©2019 | Michel deRuijter ©2014


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