82L x 23W x 23H (cm)
The legend of Chris-Craft began in 1884, when Christopher Columbus Smith began the Smith Boat House on the St Clair River in Algonac, Michigan, to manufacture small duck boats and power launches. Later, the company was extended to Chris Smith and Sons Boat Co. Many of his larger runabouts were used as taxis; transporting guests on the river front to resorts, or to various sightseeing attractions. In the twenty’s, mostly runabouts were produced, but with the introduction of his speed boats, Chris Smith’s fame took off.
Craftsmanship, design and unmatchable quality have been the hallmarks of Riva since the company’s founding in 1842 in Sarnico, Italy, one of Italy’s great boat-building centers. It’s there that Pietro Riva built his first “Riva,” known for quality craftsmanship and performance ahead of its time. By the 1930s, the business was managed by Pietro’s grandson, Serafino, under whose guidance the company became known for manufacturing small racing boats, which Serafino himself raced. Not content to remain in this niche, the Riva family increased its line to include boats built as much for pleasure as for speed. By the 1950s, the Riva name, under the leadership of Pietro’s grandson, Carlo, Riva became a symbol of quality, elegance, speed and, most notably, wealth. As a result, Riva gained worldwide fame as the luxury boat of choice for kings and queens, matinee idols, corporate titans, entrepreneurs and jet-setters worldwide
The Florida design, first penned in 1952, was another enduring classic in the Riva range, as well as the most popular of the wooden boats to be produced on the shores of Lago d’Iseo. Between 1952 and 1969 1,137 boats were built, comprising 426 normal Floridas and 711 super Florida slightly larger and more powerful.
Named after the American state most closely associated with water-skiing, the Florida design features a cockpit and a large sun-bed astern, divided by a bridge of mahogany deck, filleted with maple. Early models were fitted with Chris Craft engines, followed by Chrysler and latterly Riva’s own 220 hp unit, built around a Crusader V8.