For True Connoisseurs
For years the runabout had been stored away in the corner of a boatyard, hidden under old tarpaulin. Enthusiasts were aware of the existence of Ferruccio Lamborghini’s Riva Aquarama but, after its owner passed away in 1993, the exact location of the legendary sports boat remained a secret. Then a Dutch Riva collector tracked it down and had it fully restored to original condition by Riva World, specialists in the restoration of Riva boats.
Built 45 years ago for and commissioned by Ferruccio Lamborghini, founder of the Italian sports car brand, the fastest Aquarama in the world is now back on the water after three years of restoration work.
Sandro Zani, owner of the Dutch Riva restorer, travelled to Italy on a regular basis, including visits to the Ferruccio Lamborghini Museum, in order to document all the details and elements of the original, before beginning the extensive restoration. During the work, the wooden hull was repaired and sanded, with no fewer than 25 coatings applied, the wooden interior was repaired and the seats were reupholstered in the famous Riva design. Lamborghini’s Riva also received “a new beating heart”: twin Lamborghini V12 engines from the first Lamborghini ever created, the 350 GT.
As Sandro Zani explains, “One of the two original engines from the Riva can still be seen in the Ferruccio Lamborghini Museum in Italy, but unfortunately wasn’t available for sale for this project. That is why we bought two other V12 engines…
and converted them so they would be fully suitable for use in a boat. Thanks to the Ferruccio Lamborghini Museum, we were allowed to disassemble and re-create various original parts of the original engine in the museum. In addition, Lino Morosini, who 45 years ago was head of the Riva engine division and one of the fathers of the Aquarama Lamborghini, provided us with additional information with which we were able to adapt the twin V12 powerhouses, water-cooled via specially designed closed circuit, so they were completely in line with the original specimens.”
The late test driver and developer Bob Wallace provided the Riva World team with input for getting the two Lamborghini engines ready for maritime use, for the conversion of the engines so one would rotate to the left and the other to the right, for increasing the torque at low revs and for the manufacture of
The result was two roaring Lamborghini 4.0 V12s, each with 350hp and equipped with six twin Weber carburettors (12 in total) with a rev range between 700 and 5,000 rpm and a formidable torque that through various adjustments to the engines, including increased bore and longer stroke, is already available from around 1,500 revs. Together they give the Riva Aquarama Lamborghini a top speed of around 48 knots, compared to 40 knots for regular Aquaramas that Riva fits with twin V8 units as standard equipment.
After test runs in the Netherlands last summer the Riva was transported to Italy, where it was given free rein on Lago d’Iseo under the watchful eye of Carlos Riva, the founder of the brand and the man who, back in 1968, was himself urged by Ferruccio Lamborghini to build the Aquarama in just three months!