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How much does it really cost to maintain a vintage Riva?

Beyond clichés and rumors.

Anyone who has ever had even a brief and deficient approach to the nautical world cannot fail to know Riva, a historic brand that has guided the style, technology and elegance of Italian yachts since its roots.

Today the Riva boats built between the 50’s and the 80’s (’96 the last Riva Aquarama built if we wanted to be precise) are cult objects and, considering the limited number of pieces on the market, they are similar to works of art.

Of the flagship model of the Riva D’epoca for example, Riva Aquarama, there are about 600 remaining in the world.
These works of art, being entirely made of wood, require maintenance and this is the theme of this article.

It is commonplace to consider the ordinary maintenance and related running costs of vintage Riva boats as extremely expensive, which is why one is often sceptical about the purchase and afraid of the economic impact it will have on the future value of the boat.

Nothing could be more wrong.

The premise, of course, is that vintage Riva boats are more delicate, precisely because they are made of wood, than any other fibreglass boat, but they bring with them a huge advantage.

Let’s get down to the real thing.

Today a normal Riva Aquarama 3rd series has a market value in excellent condition of approx. 500.000,00 €.

We divide the fixed costs from the variable costs of use.

Fixed costs:

Let’s assume that the boat is put in storage on Lake Iseo, place of birth and full of workers attentive and passionate to these boats.

In addition to the storage we have the costs of ordinary maintenance, in particular, wintering and wintering of the engines, categorically made by specialized mechanics (oil in the cylinders and complete discharge of water from the engine circuit) and a coupon that on average is done every 3 years or so.

In addition, before wintering, vaseline oil is put on to preserve all the chrome plating, an internal dehumidifier before the final cover to avoid unpleasant odours and mould during the wet winter and a complete thorough washing.

In this case the total of the above mentioned costs does not exceed 5.000,00 € per year so less than 1% of the value of the boat!

If the boat is kept correctly by the shipyard that hosts them, a complete restoration can preserve the boat for several years, certainly over 15 years, except for a cycle of paint made by 5 coats in an oven against the absorption of mahogany.

In purely economic terms, the balance between the value of the boat and the maintenance costs of vintage Rivas is unquestionably advantageous.

The extraordinary costs (except for accidental events, however generally covered by insurance) are as follows:

Antifouling, only in case the boat would leave for a trip to the sea for a hypothetical 1 month.

Transport for the transfer during the summer period and obviously gasoline

To bring a Riva Aquarama for example from Iseo to the coast of Italy, St. Tropez for example requires approx. 6.500,00 transport (round trip included) plus approx. 2.500 € preparation for salt water including antifouling.

In this case a month’s holiday on the most chic coast of the Mediterranean costs about 4.500,00 € petrol which will clearly depend on how much will be used.

Back from the sea, your vintage Riva will only need a nice ride in fresh water to clean the circuit and a nice deep wash to remove any small corrosive salt residue.

Here again, your holiday on the Riviera with a beautiful vintage Riva has impacted just over 2% of the total value of the boat.

If we take into account that over the last 40 years the average annual revaluation rate of a Riva Aquarama has been around 8%. We are faced with a very entertaining investment that despite the cost of use continues to create value.

Bellini Riva vintage storage and maintenance

Bellini Riva restoration 


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