Monaco

10 May 2014

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Lot 168

1958 Riva Tritone "Via"

  • Engine no. 300557
  • Hull no. 62

Sold for €403.200


Two 175 hp, Chris-Craft MCL six-cylinder engines. Top speed: 69 km/h Length: 7.94 m Width: 2.62 m Weight: 4,000 kg

  • A cherished piece of Monégasque history
  • Delivered new to H.S.H. Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace
  • Recently fully restored to original specifications by Riva specialists


Carlo Riva was lucky enough to realise several of his childhood dreams in the 1950s. He opened a new, ultra-modern shipyard in Sarnico and negotiated an exclusive agreement to import American Chris-Craft engines, for use in beautiful mahogany boats of his own design. Rivas quickly became a must-have toy of the international elite, as they were famous for their beauty and impressive dimensions, making them ideal for use on one’s lake or oceanfront property.

At the top of the pecking order was the Tritone. Until the Aquarama was announced in 1962, the Tritone was the largest Riva introduced, with a length of nearly eight meters. For 10 years, this model dominated the luxury boat market, especially in the Mediterranean and amongst royal families. King Farouk I of Egypt, Prince Pignatelli Cortes of Aragon, the sheikhs of Kuwait and Qatar, Count Giovanni Agusta, and Prince Alessandro Ruspoli, amongst others, were all satisfied owners of this “Boat of Kings”.

In early 1958, Carlo Riva received a special order for a pair of Tritones from a wealthy Milanese textile industrialist, Mr Gianoglio. Whilst every Riva that left the factory was special, this order would be very beneficial to the destiny of both Riva and his company. Gianoglio was a close relative of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III, the reigning prince of Monaco, and he wished to bestow the prince with a Tritone, as a show of his admiration and gratitude. Given the time of delivery for the beautiful watercraft, it was decided that the prince would receive his first, and thus, hull number 62, Via, was born.

Via, adorned with red and white stripes, in the livery of the Principality, was powered by two Chris-Craft MCL, 5.5-litre, six-cylinder engines, each capable of 175 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and both equipped with the automatic diverter dubbed the “Chris-O-Matic”, which was launched at a time when the pushbutton automatic transmission fascinated the American auto industry.

It is said that Prince Rainier III, a true lover of the sea and boats, never expected the marvellous gift. However, it proved to provide great fun for the young family that formed after his marriage in 1956 to Princess Grace, the former Grace Kelly, renowned American socialite and film star. Via was a frequent sight in the waters surrounding the Principality, and it served as the prince’s flagship in keeping with naval etiquette and protocol, flying both the flag of Monaco and the personal flag of the prince. When not in use with the Grimaldi family, Via was always maintained to high standards by the Monaco Boat Service, which was established in 1959 at the foot of the Rock.

It is interesting to note that, on the prince’s birthday in 1958, he learned that Carlo Riva was visiting Monaco. So delighted was he with his new Tritone that the prince immediately invited Riva to the palace, to tell him of his admiration for the craft. The two men became fast friends, and as a result, Carlo gained the prince’s trust and was allowed to use the tunnel of the Monaco Boat Service as storage space for his boats, which was a great privilege, as space at the Monaco docks was always at a premium.

Prince Rainier III eventually replaced his Tritone with a smaller Riva Junior, used for short trips and water-skiing with Princess Grace and their children. Yet, Via would continue to remain in its home port, always maintained by Riva in Monaco under the long-term custodianship of its second owner.

The current owner, a notable Riva enthusiast, acquired the Tritone several years ago. After deciding to restore the faded craft to its original condition, he entrusted Via to a renowned Dutch specialist. An exemplary restoration of several years was then undertaken, returning the Tritone to its original specification, including both original engines, which were completely rebuilt and refurbished. The latest technology enabled the famous Chris-O-Matic transmission to be rebuilt with added reliability.

Today, Riva is still a symbol of wealth and glamor, and there is perhaps no more glamorous Riva than Via, which continues to embody the spirit of Prince Rainier III, the stunning Princess Grace, and their beautiful principality, where it is proudly offered today.



Deux moteurs six-cylindres Chris-Craft MCL de 175 ch. Vitesse maxi: 69 km/h. Longueur: 7,94 m. Largeur: 2,62 m. Poids: 4 000 kg.

  • Pièce précieusement préservée de l'histoire de Monaco
  • Livré neuf à S.A.S. le prince Rainier III et la princesse Grace
  • Restauration complète et récente à ses spécifications d'origine, par des spécialistes Riva


Carlo Riva a eu la chance de pouvoir réaliser dans les années 1950 plusieurs de ses rêves d'enfance. Ainsi, il ouvrait un nouveau chantier naval, ultramoderne, à Sarnico et négociait un accord exclusif pour importer les moteurs américains Chris-Craft, de façon à les installer dans les superbes bateaux en acajou de sa conception. Les Riva sont rapidement devenus un équipement obligatoire pour l'élite internationale, car ils étaient célèbres pour leur beauté et leurs dimensions impressionnantes, ce qui en faisait des embarcations idéales pour une utilisation sur sa priorité en bordure d'un lac ou d'un front de mer.

Au sommet de la gamme se trouvait le Tritone. Jusqu'à la présentation de l'Aquarama en 1962, le Tritone était le plus grand Riva disponible, avec une longueur de huit mètres. Pendant dix ans, ce modèle a dominé le marché des bateaux de luxe, en particulier sur la Méditerranée et parmi les familles royales. Le roi Farouk I d'Égypte, le prince Pignatelli Cortes d'Aragon, les Sheikh du Koweït et du Qatar, le comte Giovanni Agusta et le prince Alessandro Ruspoli, entre autres, étaient tous enchantés de ce « Bateau des Rois ».

Au début de l'année 1958, Carlo Riva a reçu une commande spéciale pour deux Tritone, émanant d'un milanais aisé, industriel dans le textile, M. Gianoglio. Tous les Riva qui quittaient l'atelier étaient spéciaux, mais celui-ci allait être favorable autant à Riva qu'à son entreprise. Gianoglio était un parent proche de S.A.S. le prince Rainier III, le prince régnant de Monaco, et il souhaitait offrir un Tritone au prince, en signe d'admiration et de gratitude. Compte tenu du délai de livraison de ces superbes bateaux, il était décidé que le prince recevrait le sien le premier et ainsi Via, coque numéro 62, est né.

Via, décoré de bandes rouges et blanches, les couleurs de la Principauté, était propulsé par deux moteurs six-cylindres Chris-Craft MCL 5,5 litres développant chacun 175 ch à 3 400 tr/mn et qui étaient tous les deux équipés de la commande de transmission automatique du nom de « Chris-O-Matic », à une époque où les transmissions automatiques à boutons fascinaient l'industrie automobile américaine.

On raconte que le prince Rainier III, véritable amateur de mer et de bateaux, ne s'attendait pas du tout à ce superbe cadeau. Celui-ci se révélait pourtant très apprécié par la jeune famille qui s'était formée après le mariage en 1956 du prince avec la princesse Grace, l'ancienne actrice américaine Grace Kelly célèbre dans le monde entier. Via était une présence familière dans les eaux entourant la Principauté, et il servait au prince de vaisseau amiral, tout en respectant scrupuleusement l'étiquette et le protocole maritime, hissant en même temps les couleurs de Monaco et le pavillon personnel du prince. Lorsqu'il n'était pas utilisé par la famille Grimaldi, Via était toujours entretenu avec grand soin par Monaco Boat Service, installé en 1959 au pied du Rocher.

Il est intéressant de noter que, le jour de l'anniversaire du prince, en 1958, il apprit que Carlo Riva était en visite à Monaco. Il était tellement heureux de son Tritone qu'il invita immédiatement Riva au Palais, pour lui faire part de son admiration pour ce bateau. Les deux hommes devenaient amis et Carlo, ayant gagné la confiance du prince, était autorisé à utiliser le tunnel de Monaco Boat Service comme lieu de stockage pour ses bateaux. C'était un privilège important, les places dans le port de Monaco étant particulièrement rares et chères.

Le prince Rainier III remplaçait plus tard son Tritone par un Riva Junior de plus petite taille, utilisé pour de courtes sorties ou pour des séances de ski nautique avec la princesse Grace et leurs enfants. Pourtant, Via ne quittait pas son port initial, restant longtemps entre les mains de son deuxième propriétaire, et toujours entretenu par Riva à Monaco.

L'actuel propriétaire, un vrai passionné de Riva, a acheté le Tritone il y a plusieurs années. Après avoir décidé de restaurer le bateau comme à l'origine, il a confié Via à un spécialiste hollandais réputé. Celui-ci réalisait une restauration exemplaire sur plusieurs années, permettant au Tritone de retrouver ses spécifications d'origine, dont les deux moteurs d'origine qui ont été complètement remis en état. La technologie la plus récente a permis de reconstruire la fameuse transmission Chris-O-Matic, en améliorant sa fiabilité.

Aujourd'hui, Riva est toujours un symbole d'opulence et de prestige, et il n'y a peut-être pas plus prestigieux que Via, qui continue à incarner l'image du prince Rainier III, de la princesse Grace et de leur superbe Principauté, où ce bateau est proposé aujourd'hui.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more