As I’ve written here before on Haute Yachts, runabouts built by Riva, especially their all-mahogany launches, have long been among the most coveted in the world. Recently, Marc Newson’s collaboration with Riva brought more attention to the iconic brand. Now, a well-known auction house is selling the last wooden-hulled Riva, and if you can’t attend in person, you can watch it live on television.
Being held by Mecum Auctions, the sale of “The Last Riva,” as the boat is being called, will take place on Saturday, Jan. 29, in Kissimmee, Fla. It’s just one of several vintage craft, as well as classic cars and memorabilia, being offered during a five-day event, all being broadcast on the HD Theater channel.
Specifically, the boat, Hull #774, is part of the Aquarama series. It was delivered in 1996 and is still in the hands of the original owners (the founding family of Sony, incidentally). Rarely used, it has less than 20 hours on the engines. But that doesn’t mean the boat was left unattended. In fact, the owners have kept it professionally stored and maintained since delivery. As you might expect of a meticulously maintained boat, the original varnish is still intact. If you’re an aficionado of classic craft, then you know how rare this is.
A beautiful brass plaque on her dashboard attests to her historic status: “Aquarama Special Number 774 is one of the final six hand built wooden boats constructed by Cantieri Riva representing the pinnacle of over 150 years of boat building tradition in the company from 1842 to 1996.” Imagine how that plaque will gleam in the sunlight as you cruise your favorite waterway at speeds exceeding 50 mph… and how many heads will turn as you pass them by.
Listed as Lot S182, the Riva is scheduled to be sold on the 29th at 5:15 p.m. To obtain a bidder form, or for additional details, visit the Mecum Auctions website.