The Lamborghini Riva Aquarama

After a 3-year effort, Riva has announced the restoration of a piece of maritime history.

The Lamborghini Riva Aquarama

"When you hear the word “Lamborghini,” you tend to think of land, not water, yet the car maker has a page in one of the most famous chapters of boat design. In production from 1962 to 1996, the Riva Aquarama was the crowning achievement of the darling of the Jet Set, Italy's Riva boat works. Founded in 1842, Riva started out making ferries, but soon graduated to racing boats."

"A Dutch Riva collector found Lamborghini’s Aquarama and three years ago it was handed over to Riva World in Uithoorn in the Netherlands, to put it back to rights. Not surprisingly, the woodwork needed some attention. It was repaired, sanded, and 25 coatings applied. The chrome work was polished, all of the buttons and switches were disassembled and restored, and the seats were reupholstered in new leather to match the old. To make sure that all the elements were correct, Sandro Zani, the owner of Dutch Riva, made frequent trips to Italy to check on details. This was especially important because new engines were needed to complete the restoration."

"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,” says Sandro Zani. “That is why we bought two other V12 engines, one of which in the US, 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 restored Riva Aquarama sports two Lamborghini 4.0 V12 with six twin Weber carburetors punching 350 bhp, making for a top speed of 48 knots (55 mph, 89 km/h) compared to the 40 knots (46 mph, 74 km/h) of V8 Aquaramas. The restoration team also had the input of Lamborghini’s former test driver and developer, Bob Wallace, who passed away last month, age 75. With his help, the engines were adapted for marine service and made to rotate in opposite directions to eliminate prop walk."

"After restoration, the Aquarama was taken to Italy and put through its paces under the eye of its creator, Carlo Riva on Lago d’Iseo, where it was built."

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