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Riva Aquarama: unique and limited edition

More than 4,000 mahogany boats were personally designed by Mr. Carlo Riva, and built in his Sarnico shipyard between 1950 and 1971, in collaboration with about 200 high specialized technicians, shipwrights and technical, administrative managers with a passion for the sea and the spirit of good sailing.
It was the first European shipyard that built the various models in series, each identified with the hull number. A peculiarity to highlight is that no hull had the same measurements in terms of length and hand – planed curvatures comparing it with another of the same series.

In 1962 the myth was born, the Rolls-Royce of the sea, the incredible “Aquarama”, still today is the dream of collectors, entrepreneurs, artists and Royal Families.
The Riva Aquarama with hull number #486 was the last built by the Engineer, now jealously kept by his daughters Lia and Pia.

Lipcar IV – Aquarama hull n.486 credits to Piero M.Gibellini

In nine years of production different modifications were made both to the hull (flat hull, then half “V”, then from 1968 deep “V” which remained in line until 1996, the year of the end of production) and to the systems and then the change of increasingly powerful, safe and reliable engines of USA origin: the aim was to achieve perfection and optimization of high-performance and inimitable aesthetics, with attention to the smallest detail. A particular note should be dedicated to the choice of woods, various essences of mahogany, unique and perfect cuts, reserved exclusively for the Riva shipyard.
The accurate and maniacal study of the projects led Carlo Riva to build increasingly popular boats full of unique details.
The Aquarama was built on parallel production lines with the Super Aquarama on which 2 x 320 HP Riva-Crusader engines – 8 cylinders in “V” were installed instead of the 220 HP engine from the normal Aquarama; the hull was lengthened from 8.20 meters to 8.45/8.50, perfecting the weight/power ratio and achieving perfect performance, even sailing on rough seas in complete safety.

Riva-Crusader da 320 HP 8 cilynders in “V”

Some changes were also made which create effort as unique pieces, today even more appreciated by collectors and lovers of the Riva boats, considered as authentic artworks.
In total, 288 normal Aquarama models were built from 1962 to 1972, 202 Aquarama Super models from 1963 to 1971 and 278 Aquarama Special models from 1972 to 1996. Today it is difficult to know with certainty how many are left in the world but from our internal research we have ascertained that in the world there are 598 Aquarama models in total of which 381 are Normal and Super models and 217 are Special models. 

Unique and limited serie

Riva Aquarama/Tritone hull n°1

In 1962 the Aquarama officially went into production.
The hull is perfectly identical to that of the previous model, the Tritone (considered the father of the Aquarama model) but with notable technical and aesthetic improvements.
It is therefore the Triton n° 214, the “Lipicar” of 1962, which, being the Aquarama n°1, was counted as such by Carlo Riva among the Aquarama models. The legendary Lipicar n.1 is therefore an evolution of the Triton 8.02m long x 2.62m wide, seating for eight, two forward berths, twin Chris-Craft petrol engines of 185hp each, speed 73km/h.

Lipicar Aquarama hull n.1 – Tritone hull n.214

Riva Aquarama two boat’s side air vents

The Riva Aquarama series is highly sought after with 2 boat’s side air vents (instead of the 4 standard ones installed until 1969); only 41 Normal and Super Aquarama models (the most sought after and valued) install the 2 boat’s side air vents which naturally create them unique pieces. Therefore, starting from Aquarama hull number 447 to the normal Aquarama LIPICAR hull n.486 we find the two boat’s side air intakes in limited series).

Aquarama n.483 “Happy Days” 2 boat’s side air vents credits to Bellini Nautica


Only one unique model built is the hull number #278 “Lamborghini” from 1968 on which the engines of the Modena-based company were installed aboard on it, collaborating with Ferruccio Lamborghini himself. Riva Aquarama Lamborghini is an iconic model known all over the world, whose origins and history we explained in this article:

Riva Aquarama Lamborghini hull n.278 credits to Bellini Nautica

Aquarama Super hull n°8-12-25

Only 3 examples produced of this 1963 Aquarama Super model, installed on Chrysler 8V M413D 2x Hp.290 engines.  This model has lamellar sides and airex carpeted tank bed.

Aquarama Super hull n°306

This model is from 1969 there and it is a transitional model between 2nd and 3rd series: bow of 3rd series more streamlined and stern of second series lower than the transom of 3rd series (3rd in front and 2nd on the back). It’s a unique model and aboard of it there are the standard engines of the Super Aquarama, Riva 320 V8 2x Hp.320

Aquarama hull n°107

Riva Aquarama 1st series without transom slide only 1 model built.
From 1965 with 2x Chris Craft 8 283 185 HP engines

Riva Aquarama n.107 – 1st serie without transom slide

Aquarama “Lungo”

Carlo sold the Riva shipyard and brand to a US company in 1971. There were just 7 Super Aquarama models left in stock to be fitted out and 7 pairs of 220 HP engines than normal: thus the “lungo” Aquarama was born. Today it is believed that of the 7 built only 4/5 models remain

Riva Aquarama Lungo hull n.501

Aquarama Special hull n.521

It is particular that it was the first Aquarama Special produced with 350 horsepower compared to the previous ones that mounted the Riva Thermo Electron 2x320HP 8 cylinders in “V”, the second was the hull number #553; therefore between hull n.521 and hull n.553 they continued to mount the 320 HP and then definitively established from hull n.553 Riva Thermo Electron 2x350HP 8 cylinders in “V”.

Aquarama Special hull n.521

If you have any further questions or would you like to buy a vintage Riva?
Contact us, we will be pleased to help you!


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