Rolls Rio (6.7 m): this beautiful boat is a Rolls Royce of the seas, literally

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Rolls Rio
Rolls Rio; 1965

Automotive and boating are two distant worlds, but much more in touch with each other than it seems. Partly because they often participate in the same “glamour,” partly because of commercial necessity, and often because of technical solutions. Just recently Frauscher in fact announced its latest collaboration, the Frauscher X Porsche Fantom 850 Air, signed precisely together with the German company. Axopar and Brabus are then another good example, but it is not only the present that gives us evidence of these hybrids. In fact, how often do we come across images of the various Riva Ferraris, or Aquaramas strong with Lamborghini engines? Exactly. But these are not the only cases. Another little gem was signed by Rio, now almost 60 years ago. In 1965, in fact, the then Avionautica Rio (it also built gliders) signed the Rolls Rio, in collaboration with British Rolls Royce. Thus was born one of the most prestigious Rio‘s ever.

Rolls Rio (6.75 m): when the Rio was the Rolls Royce of the seas, literally

It is 1965 and Rio and Rolls Royce conclude their first collaboration, resulting in the Rolls Rio. The hull is the same as the Rio Espera, revamped in detail and embellished in accessories, including an onboard turntable and a television (in black and white). The engine, on the other hand, needless to say, was British’s signature, providing a 240-horsepower Rolls Royce LM841 V8 to the small 6.75-meter hull. Needless to say, it was almost magic.


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Rolls Rio
Rolls Rio; 1965

Rolls Rio – Blanket

Classic 1960s look, a reflection of the dolce vita that characterized all boating at the time. The lines are elegant, clean, with a short bow, committing just a quarter of the hull length. Immediately behind, protected by the windshield, is the cockpit with the wheelhouse, served by two armchair seats and followed by a full-beam sofa. To offer more volume, simulating a sundeck, the pilot and co-pilot seats then provided fold-down backrests, thus being able to create a kind of sundeck connected to the sofa.

Detail with the fold-down back seats

The entire aft section of the hull, flush to the cockpit, was instead, clear, devoid of sundecks as was the case on many of her peers. Access panels to the engine compartment were present here, however, as well as a space to hold the retractable soft top, which was standard on all examples built.

Rolls Rio

Peculiarly, the first example of Rolls Rio also introduced a turntable present in the wheelhouse, later replaced by a black-and-white television. Turning instead to the remaining specimens, traces of most have been lost except for 4, including 2 in northern Europe, one in France and one in Rio, Brazil.

The dashboard of complete with black and white television set

Propulsion and performance

Finally, coming to the powertrain, propulsion was provided by a single (super) Rolls Royce LM-841 8-cylinder V-cylinder gasoline engine (super) with 6,230cc displacement, for a power output of 240 horsepower. Instead, the tank had a capacity of 220 liters. The top speed was 43 knots.

Rolls Rio
The Rolls Royce LM-841 V8 installed on the Rio

Finally, reported by the same yard, an unusual feature of the Rolls Royce engine in question was the need to have to manually apply pressure to the oil (via a special pump in the dashboard) in the phase before the engine was started. Otherwise, the engine would have failed due to improper valve operation.

Rolls Rio – Data Sheet

Length Over All (LOA) 6.75 m
Baglio Massimo (B.max) 2.30 m
Dive 0,50 m
Displacement 1.3 t
Motorization Rolls Royce LM-841 V8 240hp
Maximum Speed 43 kn
Fuel Tank Capacity 220 lt.
Builder’s Yard Avionautica Rio

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