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Riva - the creation of a Myth

The hand crafted mahogany Riva runabouts, created by Carlo Riva, have become mythical during his lifetime. Carlo Riva's dream of creating perfection in both the design and functionality of his runabouts are the basis of his legendary status.

In Carlo's early years there were no computers or digital design systems used in his designs - just a genuine passion, instinct and real time observation of how his Rivas drove.  By continuous evolution and development, he transmitted to his customers the pleasure, passion and performance that they were looking for when out to enjoy themselves with family and friends on the water.

Every time you go out on a Riva, and see the combination of the colours of the wood and upholstery against the water and hear the burble of the V8 engine, you recognise the privilege he has created for us all in being able to drive our runabouts and meet up with good friends - all with a passion for the 'Dolce Vita'.

1972 - 1996

Aquarama Special

The Aquarama Special is the final design from Carlo Riva and is an extended version of the iconic Aquarama.  It was finally the only runabout built from around 1979 onwards due to a changing market and the increasing popularity of fibreglass boats.


Proposed by Carlo's Architect Barilani the main changes were an increase in length to accommodate a small bathing platform and giving a more raked barrel stern.


Two larger and more powerful engines, the Riva Crusader 350, were fitted to compensate for the additional length and weight.

The mahogany dashboard instrumentation was upgraded and various modifications made to fuel fillers, power levers, Siren and steering wheel.

Constructed: 278

Engine:  Riva Crusader 350

Speed: 74/76 km/h

Weight 3,000 kg

Length: 8.78m

Draft: 63 cms


1962 - 1979


The most iconic of Carlo Riva's designs the Aquarama has become renowned the world over.  It is celebrate as a nautical legend and is the undisputed flagship of the range.

It's evocative name 'Aquarama' is derived from the widescreen Cinema movie format that evolved in the 1960's and relates to the boat's wide cinemagraphic single piece windshield.

A twin engined runabout, designed for coastal waters as well as lakes, that followed the earlier Tritone but now incorporated an open sunbathing recess and a non slip access to the stern of the boat.  Lipicar was the first prototype in 1962.

There are two variants of the boat starting with the Aquarama followed by the Super Aquarama which had an improved performance.  In 1972 7 Lungo's were built 8.72m in length.  It was also the base design for the Aquarama Special.

The large cockpit, with split front seats and folding shelves on the back, the addition of an anchor housing and the wash-board around the bow, large sunbathing area from the cockpit to the stern and access to a stern ladder were the making of the Aquarama.  The uprated Super Aquarama sported the Riva Crusader engines and a marine toilet was added in the fore cabin.

Constructed: Aquarama 288/Super Aquarama 203

Engines: Chris Craft 283 V8/Riva Crusaders 220 & 320 V8

Speed: 64/85 km/h

Weight: 2,630 - 2,940 kg

Length: 8.02 - 8.45 m

Draft: 54/56 cms

1950 - 1966


The Tritone was the fore-runner to the Aquarama and was the original 'top of the range' model with twin engines and a deck mounted mattress for sunbathing.

It had large fuel tanks which gave it a long range and was considered ideal for both lake and sea cruising.  Its hull design drew on the Corsaro but was extended, to include a second row of seats in the cockpit, which made it much more passenger friendly.

Initially it had a 4 piece glass pane cockpit window within a chrome frame but this was later changed to a single wrap-around frame.  It also had a removable canvas cockpit cover that eventually became a feature of many Rivas.

It was made in 3 different models from the original Tritone, the more powerful Super Tritone and the ultimate Tritone Cadillac.  It was the Tritone that was modified, with a shallow sundeck and called the 'Aperto', in the creation of the Aquarama.

Constructed: Tritone 226/ Super 21/Cadillac 10

Engines: Chris Craft M80/283 & 431/Cadillac 250 & 320

Speed: 74/85 km/h

Weight: 2,650 - 2,780 Kg

Length: 7.60 - 8.22 m

Draft: 60 cms


1950 - 1974


This is perhaps the second most recognised iconic Riva and it's barrel styled stern is considered one of the most beautiful design features that creates a certain elegance to the boat with a long timber stern deck an early feature of Riva design.  It has a single engine and larger fuel tanks.

Three models were produced, the Ariston, Super Ariston and Ariston Cadillac.

It was with this boat that Carlo Riva created the deeper 'V' styled hull that gave the boats a much smoother and faster ride.  It was also where the gunwale, the raised edge on the fore deck emerged as another important design feature.

It had two bench seats in the cockpit and later models had the front seat that folded flat.  A folding hood was incorporated for the cockpit and there was a removable sunbathing mattress for the rear deck.

Constructed: Ariston 804/Super 181/Cadillac 19

Engines: Chris Craft 175/M80/413/Crusader 220/320/350

                Cadillac 250hp

Speed: 67/77 km/h

Weight: 1,250 - 1,500 Kg

Length: 6.25 - 6.95 m

Draft: 50/51 cms

1952 - 1968


The Florida was an early design that became a classic in the Riva range.  It was named after the American state which was closely associated with water skiing and was a fun runabout for the young aspiring Riva owners as well as a tender for larger cruising yachts.

Early models were fitted with Chris Craft engines which were later followed by Chrysler and then latterly the Riva Crusader V8 engine that was created by Carlo.

It had a front cockpit with a large sun bed astern that could accommodate water skiers and sunbathers.


There were intrinsically two models the Florida and the Super Florida.


Constructed: Florida 426/Super Florida 711

Engines: Chris Craft 120/131/185/283 V8/Crusader 220

Speed: 58/69 km/h

Weight: 936 - 1,250 Kg

Length: 5.4 - 6.27 m

Draft: 48 cms

Villa D'Este - Como.jpg

1967 - 1972


Designed to be the 'affordable' baby of the range the Junior became the desirable Riva for the younger enthusiast.  It also was used as a ships tender on luxury yachts to enable their owners to water ski or simply go ashore.also

It had an open cockpit and sun deck and was powered by a single engine.  It also had a fully painted hull which was easy for an owner to maintain.

In 1972 it was replaced by the Riva Rudy which used the then new technology of fibre glass which was becoming increasingly popular due to ease of maintenance and improved power to weight ratio.

Constructed: 626

Engines: Crusader 180/190/220 V8

Speed: 67 km/h

Weight: 1,000 Kg

Length: 5.5 - 5.7 m

Draft: 48 cms

1969 - 1983


Named after the 1968 Mexico Olympics it was first introduced in 1969 to replace the highly successful Super Florida.  In many respects it could be considered a larger version of the Riva Junior excepting that the majority of the sides were still varnished.  


It was designed to compete with the new fibreglass boats that were becoming popular.  It had a large sunbed area for sunbathing and water skiing equipment.

It could be used for family outings or as a tender to larger cruising yachts.

Constructed: 264

Engines: Crusader 220/270/Termo Electron 270 hp

Speed: 67/71 km/h

Weight: 1,000 Kg

Length: 6.55 - 6.60 m

Draft: 48 cms

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