On September 27th, 2012 our friends James & Casudi successfully completed the final sea trials of PERLITA TOO on Lake Washington near Seattle – Exactly 5 years to the day from when their rare 1953 Riva Tritone was shipped to Chris Casparis at Sea Sonic Boats in Canada to begin her long and expensive restoration journey, which is now complete.
But this restoration journey first began when PERLITA TOO was found late in 1989 in the Sacramento Delta in northern California, where she had been stored in the darkness of a makeshift container since the mid 1970′s. The discovery was made while James was cataloging the inventory of a well-known California classic boat collector, Alan Furth. Struck by the classic lines of a Riva, James arranged to purchase the boat, even before confirming the condition or completeness. Only later, after beginning his research, did he uncover the remarkable story of PERLITA TOO, the first Riva speedboat to come to the USA!
PERLITA TOO arrived in Hollywood in 1953, ordered from the factory in Italy by Film Producer Roland Reed (standing in the boat in the above image), after he had been impressed by a Riva on a boat show stand in Milan, Italy.
She was the first Riva ever to arrive in the US and is the only remaining Riva of 4 built in 1952 & 1953 with the record breaking Scripps V12 engine. Lastly she is the oldest Riva Tritone in existence and the first of 258 Tritones built by the Riva factory in Italy. The LAST Tritone was Nº 258, HERMES, delivered in 1967. (More on that boat in a future story here on Woody Boater)
James & Casudi note – “In our opinion the Scripps V12 motor in PERLITA TOO creates a boating experience totally different from other Rivas. I say this based on our own recent experiences, in Italy and in Washington.
So, how to describe it? First is the sound. The huge displacement (894 cu.in.), coupled with the long stroke, creates a deep smooth rumble completely different than a modern OHV V8. Next, the power at low RPM’s is smooth and effortless, bringing the boat on plane so quickly you’re surprised!
Interestingly, you can have a ‘normal’ conversation with companions in the front seat easily over the sound of the motor…”
In 2009 James & Casudi created a blog to chronicle the remarkable restoration of PERLITA TOO and share their journey with the world, and Woody Boater has had the priviledge of following the project. The attention to detail and their unwavering persuit for perfection throughout the rerstoration is simply amazing – and for us, even exhausting to follow on a few occasions.
Now, with 14 chapters of the PERLITA TOO blog documented, the 15th and possibly the final chapter of the restoration has now been written and released to the public this weekend. The 15th chapter titled “I LOVE MY PERLITA TOO!” culminates with James & Casudi presenting legendary designer Carlo Riva with a copy of thier book during the recent Riva Days 170-90-50 celebration in Sarnico, Italy – and Mr. Riva’s emotional response. A perfect ending to their 22 year journey with PERLITA TOO.
Here are a few images from that final chapter highlighting Perlita’s remarkable restoration, the images speak for themselves…
To see the entire story of PERLITA TOO (the first 14 Chapters) and the newly released Chapter 15 “I LOVE MY PERLITA TOO” you can Click Here. While your at the PERLITA TOO home page, also check out the link on the right side of the page titled PERLITA TOO HISTORY INFOGRAPHIC which outlines the life and times of the rare Riva Tritone and also the link to the book at the top of the page.