Whoever intends to buy and perhaps restore a vintage Riva should remember that every vintage Riva is essentially a unique piece, and like any unique piece, it requires strong attention to detail to respect that singular identity, as well as seriousness and professionalism in performing the restoration.
The really crucial point is the originality of the boat. It can frequently happen that some instruments are not original at the time of purchase and this has an impact on the value of the boat that a non-expert cannot accurately assess. Similarly, it is commonplace to rely on professional figures who are somewhere in the middle: people who handle boats and know a little and think they know a little but who don’t have that sense of history and tradition behind them to tell the difference for people who want to appreciate the added value of a collector’s boat.
People who want to buy and restore a vintage Riva are often not only fixing a boat but are adhering to a school of thought. By relying on professionals, like Bellini Nautica, who have been dealing with the sale and restoration of Rivas for years, you can remain faithful to this philosophy, with the certainty – and nothing less – of having a real guarantee on the product. Restoration is performed to the highest standards, using all the techniques and details of the original techniques used by Carlo Riva himself, a process that fewer and fewer companies know how to apply in a structured manner and with a skilled workforce.
Anyone who has engaged in an important restoration, be it a house, a car, or a boat, will have probably heard the saying “the more you spend the less you spend”, this to emphasise how those who immediately choose quality products and qualified personnel, will have less chance of encountering future problems which could lead to further expenses that would cancel the originally envisaged savings. Vintage Rivas are frequently sold without their original engines; they may not be equipped with the proper set of instruments (which change according to the vintage) or they may have been restored without adopting the original construction technique. Boatyards specialised in the restoration of vintage Rivas provide a one-year guarantee on the product, and each phase of the restoration – which lasts on average nine months – is certified and accompanied by photographic reports. Fine details make all the difference in craftsmanship, such as the fact that the threaded mahogany deck fittings of an Aquarama must have a pitch of 34 mm: even a 38 mm pitch (a 4 mm difference may not seem much) is a detail that may entail an expense of tens of thousands of euros when the time arrives to replace the deck to restore it to its original condition. Similarly, without photographic reports and accurate certifications of the restoration process, it can be difficult to trace the problems of a hull which, from an aesthetic point of view, looks very well done but may have structural flaws caused by a non-compliant refurbishment.
Often, it’s the brokers who complicate things; they only want to act as mediators between seller and buyer, turning the entire transaction into a matter of money alone. Such an approach attributes neither continuity nor value to the customer relationship; these figures take no responsibility for the product, except from a reputation perspective. These are distortions that the market often corrects on its own, but always at the expense of customers who believed they had entrusted themselves to professionals and instead, find themselves having to start over.
Originality, meticulousness, patience, dedication and professionalism are the keywords of every owner and restorer who loves vintage Rivas: the starting points of what Romano Bellini has repeatedly called “a love story, in which every goal has its rightful moment to be touched and then conquered”.