Ferruccio Lamborghini's 1968 Riva Aquarama motor yacht, famously customised with engines from his own factory, has been restored in The Netherlands.
Riva-World, a Dutch restoration ‘clinic’ that specialises in refitting wooden twin-engine luxury yachts from the Italian builder, found the boat through word of mouth. She had been bought from the Lamborghini founder in 1989 and the son of the second owner, having inherited the boat, was storing it in an Italian shipyard.
‘I think they were actually hoping he would forget about it,’ says Sandro Zani, owner of Riva-World, who found a buyer for the boat and moved it to the Uithoorn yard to be revamped.
‘It was complete, but decades in the salty environment was not very good for the wood and it needed quite a lot of work,’ says Zani. ‘We replaced the bottom and partially the sides and deck, but we kept all the original framework, the seats are still the original seats, all the hardware, instruments, that was all kept and restored.’
The biggest challenge of the three-year project, however, was the engines. When Lamborghini had sold the boat in 1989 he had the Lamborghini engines removed and Riva 220hp engines fitted. To do the famous Aquarama justice, the restoration would have to put Lamborghinis back under the deck – and they had to be very special ones.
‘Being the boat of Ferruccio Lamborghini himself, the engine block is from this type of car, the alternator bracket is from another type of car – they built the engines especially for the boat in 1968,’ says Zani. ‘You can’t take a Lamborghini engine straight out of a car and fit it in the boat, it was all custom made.’
‘The original engines they are in the Ferruccio Lamborghini Museum in Italy. I have been there dozens of times to study them – eventually they let me borrow some parts so we could very accurately source all the correct elements for our new engines,’ he says.
The finished engine is based on that of a Lamborghini Islero, with elements of a 350GT. She reaches a maximum speed of just over 46 knots – a regular Aquarama does about 41 knots. ‘It runs very strong, absolutely like Ferruccio intended it to,’ says Zani.