This classic 1958 Riva Tritone mahogany motor built for Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco will be sold by RM Auctions at its Monaco event in May. Riva’s history dates back to 1842, when Pietro Riva began building boats at Sarnico, a small northern Italian town on the shores of Lake Iseo. By the 1930s, the firm was constructing race boats under the management of Pietro’s grandson, Serafino. In 1946, Serafino’s son Carlo designed a mahogany runabout, called the Corsaro, which was modeled after Chris-Craft’s coveted motors that ushered in a new era of yachting elegance. The Tritone, first launched in 1950, was an instant success with the European jetsetting market.
Rivas became the hallmark of power, style and exclusivity on the Riviera and elsewhere. Rainier commissioned his Tritone two years after his marriage to the beautiful American movie star. The likes of Brigitte Bardot, Richard Burton, Peter Sellers, Sophia Loren and Aristotle Onassis all commissioned Rivas as well during the ‘50s and ‘60s, as did many more royals, including the Shah of Persia, the King of Morocco, the Sheikh of Dubai and King Hussein of Jordan. One of only 26 Tritones ever built, Rainier's yacht (named the Via) has been completely restored and comes fitted with its original Chris-Craft MCL 6-cylinder engines. It’s expected to fetch up to about $680k at the auction during the Monaco Grand Prix.