For decades, Ferruccio Lamborghini’s Riva Aquarama sat in the corner of a boat yard, stashed underneath a tarp, rotting into oblivion. Forty-five years after it was commissioned by old man Lambo himself, it’s back on the water, complete with not one, but two classic Lamborghini V12s.
Uncovered by a Riva collector in 2010, the Riva Aquarama Lamborghini underwent a complete restoration at the hands of Riva World. But to keep the Aquarama original, the owner of the Dutch shipyard in charge of this restoration traveled back and forth to Italy to visit the Lamborghini museum, meticulously documenting every detail before work began.
The wooden hull was repaired completely, 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 the buttons and switches were disassembled, repaired and reinstalled, and all the chrome parts shine like new.
Sandro Zani, the owner of Riva-World explains how the Aquarama came back to life: “One of the two original engines from the Riva can still be seen in the Ferruccio Lamborghini Museum in Italy, but unfortunately it wasn’t available for sale for this project. That is why we bought two other V12 engines, one of which 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.”
Bob Wallace, Lamborghini’s former test driver and developer, who sadly passed away not long ago, provided the Riva-World team with input for getting the two Lamborghini engines ready for maritime use. As well as helping modify the engines so that one would rotate to the left and the other to the right, increasing the torque at low revs, and assisting in 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.