A living legend, an icon of Italian design and the ultimate expression of elegance in full Dolce Vita style, the Riva Aquarama Lamborghini – a unique example commissioned in 1967 by Ferruccio Lamborghini from Eng.Carlo Riva – has always represented a myth in the common imagination. A legendary invention that has marked the history of the nautical world thanks to intuition and genius.
Bellini Nautica‘s boatyard opened its doors and celebrated all its greatness through a dedicated event.
On Thursday, May 12, 2022, the exceptional motorboat was on display for guests by providing for its in-water storage and an exclusive test drive at the Clusane dockyard, Headquarters of Bellini Nautica since 1960. A real appointment with history with Riva Aquarama Lamborghini as the absolute protagonist of an unprecedented occasion, made even more special by the beautiful shores of Lake Iseo.
The history of the Riva Aquarama Lamborghini reveals all the importance and fame of a boat with timeless appeal. In 1967 Ferruccio Lamborghini, founder of the car company, asked engineer Carlo Riva to customize the Aquarama he was going to buy, replacing the original engines with two 350-hp Lamborghini V12 engines and inventing to a boat that has become a legend, whose story began in those years on Lake Iseo, passed through the Netherlands, and arrived at its last stop among the boats in Bellini Nautica’s Riva collection.
Bellini’s collection besides not only the Aquarama Lamborghini but also unique models, how did this story come about?
What could a 16-year-old boy living on Lake Iseo ask for? Perhaps an ordinary moped? Certainly not Romano Bellini who, back in the day, it was 1980, with 200,000 lire bought himself a 1954 Riva Sebino motorboat with which – but he didn’t know this then – he started his precious Riva collection of Bellini Nautica. A collection that now numbers 25 boats, all original vintage Rivas (starting with the very first Riva Racer from the 1920s), to be seen, by appointment, at Corte Franca in the province of Brescia: “It took us 43 years to get there and, by the way, some models are unique.”
A valuable restoration
“There are about 500 Riva Aquaramas in the world (they had produced about 750), and half of them have passed through here,” explains Romano Bellini, who in the meantime also continues to keep Bellini Nautica alive in Clusane, where, in addition to normal shipyard functions, from sales to refitting and maintenance work, he “welcomes” (almost literally to see the passion everyone has for Riva hulls) boats to be restored. “As if it were a courtship. Every step is respected and executed with maniacal attention, to achieve a result that is surprising each time. The keyword is patience: one should not be in a hurry when initiating a restoration of this level. It’s just like living a love story: each milestone has its proper time to be touched and then conquered.”
Restoring a vintage Riva is not an easy job, and it is not for everyone: from the choice of mahogany, which Bellini personally buys and selects around the world, “it must be a single log with perfect grain and absolute absence of knots,” to the ‘alignment of the screws and the right amount of cupola, everything must be flawless; in the evening, when the workday is over, Romano Bellini reviews the boats and marks each defect with a piece of tape so that the workers can see it the next day. And if anyone dares to say that no customer will ever notice that imperceptible imperfection, he receives a curt reply, “I noticed it, and that’s enough.” Then again, vintage Rivas are a niche market that does not allow for smudging or improvisation. Bellini is aware of this, but more than business what motivates him is passion.
The Riva Aquarama Lamborghini celebratory event organized by Bellini Nautica aimed to emphasize once again the historic shipyard’s valuable link with the Riva world and its unique know-how in the business of restoring and caring for vintage motorboats. Fruit of an extraordinary family passion, passed down from generation to generation, for over 60 years.