90L x 50W x 23H (cm)
Baby Bootlegger 1924 – Gold Cup Racer
Baby Bootlegger is perhaps the most beautiful wooden boat ever built. She was designed by George Crouch and built by the Henry B. Nevins yard in City Island, NY for Wall Street bachelor, Caleb Bragg. Caleb Bragg was an ultimate sportsman, as the 70th licensed pilot in America, he pioneered speed records in the air and on land before turning to the water. After coming in second place overall, Baby Bootlegger won the 1924 Gold Cup race on a technicality, however, took home all the wins at the 1925 races on Long Island. Her Hispano Suiza aircraft engine was state of the art. She is the epitome of all speedboats.
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.
The Tritone was the most important model in the Riva stable, the largest and most expensive boat, and the only to be equipped with twin engines. Its size, power and long range (thanks to large fuel tanks) made it an ideal boat for sea-cruising, and it did much to forge Riva’s reputation in the Mediterranean. Evolving from the BQ 69 designed in 1950 it was given its name in 1953. Its hull design drew on the Corsaro, with the addition of a second row of seats in the cockpit, behind which the stern area was completely decked and used as a sun bed.
Alongside the Aquarama, the Ariston is perhaps Riva’s best known model, and certainly one of its most popular. When production ceased in 1974, twenty-four years after the model was first conceived, over 1,000 boats had been built. Over this period, many modifications were made, not least its length – which ranged from 6.2 to almost 7 meters – and the size of the single engine fitted, which ranged from 105 hp to 350 hp in the Super Ariston, powerful enough to take it to a top speed of 80 km/h