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The Riva Aquarama was a luxury wooden runabout built by Italian yacht builder Riva Boats. Production of Riva Aquarama and its derivatives (the Riva Lungo, Riva Super, and Riva Special) ran from 1962 until 1996. The Riva Aquarama hull was based on the Riva Tritone, an earlier model speedboat by Riva, which in turn was inspired by the American mahogany Chris-Craft runabouts. The Riva Aquarama boat’s speed, beauty, and craftsmanship earned it praise as the Ferrari of the boat world.
The most famous of Carlo Riva’s designs, the Riva Aquarama has become over the decades a nautical legend. Its evocative name Riva Aquarama, derived in part from the widescreen Cinerama movie format popular in the early 1960s, echoed in its sweeping wrap-around windshield, conjures images from another time.
The Riva Aquarama’s 8.02 – 8.78 metre hull was sheathed in mahogany and varnished to accentuate the beauty of its natural wood grain. All Riva Aquarama versions were twin engined, with Riva Aquarama top speeds of 45/50 knots depending on engine choice. Riva Aquarama Power varied from 185 hp to 400 hp per engine, delivered by Riva ‘tuned’ Cadillac and Chrysler models, among others. On top of the Riva Aquarama engine compartment was a cushioned sundeck. The Riva boats also carried a convertible roof which retracted behind the rear seat and cockpit. A swim ladder was often mounted in the stern.
Riva Aquarama (1962–1972) Total built 281
Riva Aquarama Lungo (1972) Total built 7
Riva Super Aquarama (1963–1971) Total built 203
Riva Aquarama Special (1972–1996) Total built 277
The Riva Aquarama is mentioned in Jeremy Clarkson’s book I Know You Got Soul. The actress Charlize Theron drove an Riva Aquarama Super in 1993 in a spot for Martini & Rossi. Another Riva Aquarama Special driven by Xenia Onatopp appears in the movie GoldenEye, and a Riva Aquarama Special is driven by Vincent Cassel in the movie Ocean’s Twelve. In 2011 the actor Jude Law drove an Riva Aquarama Special for the Dior 2011 campaign.
After selling the Riva Boat yard, Carlo Riva took part in the creation of the “Monte Carlo Offshorer” brand.
The goal was to develop runabouts with the same strengths as the Riva Super Aquarama in build quality, power and livability on board while handling better at sea.
The Monte Carlo Superfast Offshorer 27 (1970s), 30 (1980s) and 32 (early 1990s) was built out of fibre glass and was the first production runabout with a “stepped” hull to improve ride and stability. Its engines were centreline mounted with heavy duty chain drives transmitting torque to port or starboard mounted marine gearboxes. The V drives were mounted well forward and powered shallow angle propeller shafts using Radice props. This drive arrangement helped keep the boat’s centre of gravity much lower than conventional side by side mounted engines, which contributed to its handling efficiency. Cal Connell was responsible for this system’s engineering, and Bob Hobbs developed the hull form with assistance from Connell. The engines and fittings were mostly by Crusader, the same as those used on Riva Boats at the time. Most of the Monte Carlo 30 Offshorer used 2 Crusader 454s, which allowed them to reach 55 knots in standard configuration. The boats were built by RAM — the maintenance operation of the former Riva Boat company, still owned by the Riva family.
About 400 Monte Carlo 30s were built—they mostly replaced Riva Aquarama Specials on the Riviera or were used as yacht tenders.
A Riva Aquarama Monte Carlo 30 Offshorer driven by James Bond appears in the movie GoldenEye. Riva Aquariva continues the Aquarama heritage with elegant sinuous lines, the use of precious woods, and all-around attention to detail. Performance, however, is no longer on a par with luxury, the model being offered solely with diesel engines that leave it significantly slower than its predecessors. Riva Boats wiki :