Code / June 2017

The Impractical Choice: Riva Ariston 576

Still to this day, Riva resides at the zenith of the luxury speedboat world and the Ariston, the brand’s most iconic model, is testament to its majesty.

It is perhaps not possible to capture in words the sheer delight this elegant specimen brings to the eye. The only man ever able to do this piece of pure craftsmanship justice may be the creator himself. The legendary yacht engineer, designer and entrepreneur, Carlo Riva, once declared the Ariston “was designed with love and is strong and pure like a thoroughbred horse. A Lord of the seas!”

Out of his many sublime and distinguished models, Carlo, who sadly passed away earlier this year, had a particular and unique connection to the Ariston and when one takes a closer inspection, there is no wonder as to why. Its tapered rear deck and curvaceous hull create a smooth and elegant aesthetic, with the symmetrical lines leading the eye along the sleek and polished exterior. And while it may appear slightly smaller in comparison to other models such as the Aquarama, there are two rows of leather seats as well as a removable cushion to cover the deck, perfect for reclining in the Mediterranean sun.

This particular Ariston is also uniquely rendered in its original condition, untouched by renovation. The Chris-Craft engine is a spectacle in itself; a beautifully sculpted and fully functional piece of hardware from the designer whose name is synonymous with speed, craftsmanship and luxury lifestyle. Furthermore, the polished mahogany wood and Riva’s trademark white and aquamarine interior, as well as its adjustable soft top, all date back to the year of manufacture in 1964, creating a true time capsule for the glamour and indulgence of the decade.

Hollywood stars, socialites and royalty alike would cruise along the Côte d'Azur, using their speedboats to escape the summer heat and over-crowded beaches while enjoying the cooling breeze and privacy that only the open sea can provide. Endless days were spent idly lounging on the wooden decking, water-skiing and smoking Cuban cigars before returning to an extravagant soirée at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat or dining out at an illustrious and exclusive beachside restaurant. Peter Sellers, Brigitte Bardot and Sean Connery are, to name a few, some of the stars who indulged in the Riva as their transportation of choice during summer escapades on the French Riviera. By purchasing this undoubtedly impractical yet striking item, one no longer has to live vicariously through nostalgia but can recreate la dolce vita that so many enjoyed all those years ago. There is no doubt that with a wooden Riva wheel between the hands, one will feel like a lord of the sea.

The Riva Ariston 576 is priced on request and available to purchase at ClassicDriver.com.

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Natasha Drax