Unique Lamborghini twin V12 Riva boat is lovingly restored

Posted on Oct 8, 2013 by
A Lamborghini 350GT Coupé and the Riva, powered by the two of the same V12 engines found in the car

A 350GT Coupé and the Riva, powered by the two of the same V12 engines found in the car

Ferrucio Lamborghini may have been the industrialist who gave the world affordable tractors as well as the rather more exclusive sports cars which bear his name to this day, but he also liked his water borne toys.

In 1968 ago he commissioned a unique Riva Aquarama motorboat which was to be fitted with twin Lamborghini V12 engines, marinised by his own engineers.

For years after Lamborghini’s death in 1993 the runabout was stashed away in the corner of a boatyard, hidden under old tarpaulin. Enthusiasts were aware of the existence of the unique vessel but didn’t know its whereabouts. At least not until a Dutch Riva collector tracked it down and had it fully restored to original condition by Riva World, a world-renowned specialist in the restoration of Riva boats.

The Riva Aquarama Lamborghini took three years to restore.

The Riva Aquarama Lamborghini took three years to restore.

Now, three years after restoration work on the Aquarama Lamborghini began, the boat is back to life in all its splendor. Riva World didn’t accomplish this overnight. Sandro Zani, owner of the company, regularly travelled to Italy, including visits to the Ferruccio Lamborghini Museum, in order to document all the details and elements of the original, before beginning the extensive restoration.

The project saw the Aquarama returned to its original condition from top to bottom. The wooden hull was repaired, sanded and no fewer than 25 coatings were applied. The wooden interior was repaired and the seats were reupholstered in the famous Riva design; all buttons and switches were disassembled, repaired and reinstalled; all chrome parts made to shine like new and then there was the question of the engines. Originally they were from the very first Lamborghini ever created: the 350 GT.

“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,” explains Sandro Zani. “That is why we bought two other V12 engines, one of which was 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.”

Another valuable source in that area was Lamborghini’s former legendary test driver and developer, Bob Wallace, who sadly passed away not long ago. He provided the Riva World team with input for getting the two Lamborghini engines ready for maritime use, for the conversion of the engines so the one would rotate to the left and the other to the right, for increasing the torque at low revs and for the manufacture of unique parts.

The result: two wonderful sounding Lamborghini 4.0 V12s, each with 350hp and equipped with six twin Weber carburetors (twelve 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 a few test runs in the Netherlands, last summer the legendary Riva was transported to Italy, where like a fish in the water the sports boat was given free rein on Lago d’Iseo. Also under the watchful eye of Carlos Riva, father of all Riva fathers, 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’ time.

With the completion of the restoration of this unique one-of-a kind Riva Aquarama Lamborghini, Riva World has brought a legend back to life. The result is a magnificent collector’s item that knows no equal in terms of restoration level and workmanship and with which Riva World will once again thrill maritime connoisseurs as well as lovers of hot-blooded Italian sports cars.

You can watch a video of the Riva Aquarama Lamborghini here.


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