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Home » Riva Aquarama
The Riva Aquarama was a speedboat model built by Italian yachtbuilder Riva. Production ran for over three decades from Aquarama's introduction in 1962 until 1996. Carlo Riva launched the Aquarama runabout series in 1962. The Aquarama's hull was based on the Riva Tritone – an earlier model speedboat by Riva, which in turn was inspired by the American mahogany Hacker-Craft runabouts. Because of the boat's speed, beauty and the craftsmanship behind it, the Aquarama was praised as the Ferrari of the boat world. The company was founded by Pietro Riva in 1842.

The Riva Aquarama's 8.02 - 8.78 metre hull was carved from mahogany and varnished so that the beauty of the natural wood grain was visible. All versions of the Aquarama were twin engined. Power varied from 185 hp to 400 hp per engine. For example, Cadillac and Chrysler engines 'tuned' by Riva were used. The Aquarama's cruising speed was up to 45 knots. On top of the engine compartment there was a cushioned sundeck. The boats also carried a convertible roof which disappeared behind the rear seat and cockpit. There was a swim ladder mounted in the stern of the boat.

The most famous of Carlo Riva’s designs, the Aquarama has become, over time, more than just a boat. It is celebrated as a nautical legend in its own right. Its evocative name perhaps assured its mythical status, and is derived in part from the widescreen Cinerama movie format, popular in the early 1960s, which is echoed by the boat’s wide windshield.

The Aquarama is a direct descendant of the Tritone, upon whose hull it was based. First built in 1962, it incorporated the open sunbathing area of the Tritone Aperto together with new features, including separate front seats and a central non-slip gangway which allowed easier access to the water at the stern.

After selling the Riva yard, Carlo Riva was part of the creation of the "Monte Carlo Offshorer" brand. The goal was to develop runabouts that would have the same strengths as the Super Aquarama in terms of build quality, power and livability on board while handling better at sea.

Developed together with Bob Hobbs and Cal Connell, 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. These engines were centreline mounted with heavy duty chain drives transmitting torque to port or starboard mounted marine gearboxes. The V drives, mounted well forward, powered shallow angle propeller shafts using Radice props. This drive system kept the centre of gravity of the boat much lower than conventional side by side mounted engines, and this contributed to its handling efficiency. Cal Connell was responsible for the engineering of this system, 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 Rivas at the time. Most of the Monte Carlo 30 Offshorer used 2 Crusader 454s bringing them up to 55 knots in standard configuration. The boats were built by RAM – the maintenance part of the former Riva company, still owned by the Riva family.

About 400 hulls of the Monte Carlo 30 were built—they mostly replaced Aquarama Specials on the Riviera or were used as yacht tenders.

A Monte Carlo 30 Offshorer driven by James Bond appears in the movie GoldenEye. Aquariva continues the Aquarama heritage with elegant sinuous lines, the use of precious woods, and all-around attention to detail.

From this time on, however, the concept is slightly different in that performance is no longer the ultimate object. The boats are only offered with diesel engines and are significantly slower than their predecessors.