Villa Erba

25 May 2013

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Lot 138

1956 Riva Ariston Cadillac "Slughi"

  • Hull no. 101

€180.000 - €220.000

250 bhp, 365 cu. in. Cadillac V-8 engine. Length: 6.45 m (21 ft. 2 in.)

  • One of 19 Cadillac-powered Riva Aristons
  • The only example from 1956 known to survive
  • Sold new in Italy and has been a resident here ever since
  • Beautifully and authentically restored

One of the most successful of all Riva wooden runabouts was the Ariston, named for the celebrated Milan movie palace and translating from Greek to “the best”; not humble, perhaps, but in the end, an apt choice. The Ariston combined Riva’s original runabout design with inspiration from Chris-Craft’s delicately rounded “barrelback” stern, giving it lightness and elegance.

Only 19 examples of the Ariston were outfitted with powerful Cadillac engines: six in 1956, eight in 1957, and five in 1958. This is the second example ever built, and it is most likely the oldest to known to survive. Hull number 101, known as Slughi, was outfitted with a 250-horsepower V-8 engine. As a comparison, Chris-Crafts at the time were available with a 158-horsepower inline six-cylinder engine. Delivered new to Sig. Dolci, an industrialist from Milan, Slughi is believed to be unique among the 19 hulls, as it was built during the change from Riva’s traditional two-piece windscreen to the new, and soon to be iconic, panoramic design. The hull was fitted with the two-piece unit, but it was drilled to accommodate the latter, should the client elect to make the change to the modern design.

Fated to never leave its home country, Slughi was retired from service in the mid-1960s and stored in a hangar on the Italian Riviera for decades. It was discovered in 2004 by a master marine carpenter and expert yacht restorer, M. Guastini, who embarked upon a complete restoration, which included installing new planking on the deck. The next two owners continued the restoration, locating many missing, rare original parts, with the present caretaker completing the work at the Albertoli yard on Lake Maggiore. The original planking on the sides of the hull was saved and retained, whilst the bottom was replaced and reinforced, as on many old Rivas, for safety purposes. The original Cadillac V-8 was restored with much care, and the upholstery was restored to its original pattern.

The result is a spectacular boat of class, elegance, and refined Cadillac power. Slughi is ready to be enjoyed this summer season and will be delivered with its Cantiere Riva blue cover and its wooden berth.

Alexander Weaver

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

Michael Squire

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

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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

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