A very very rare 1958 Abbate California, more on that in the story.
As you may recall we were all invited to visit Glisenti Boats by fellow Woody Boaters Davide and Luca Glisenti, and so we did for sure. In what appears to be an entire trip to lake Como and never seeing one Riva. But man oh man, we have seen some other amazing boats. The standards of excellence on this lake are extremely high and we recommend anyone that needs a boost of how well it can be done, visit. You can feel the pride in the air, and see it in Davide and Luca’s eyes for sure. As Davide says, “For us it is important that tradition continues.” And he isnt just saying that. You see they are living it.
Both Luca and Davide are the future of this culture and its fantastic to know that Lake Como has these sorts of guys out there.
It’s very exciting to see younger people taking on very intense restorations and design and building new designs by hand . These boats that Glisenti does are way way over the top, but yet done with a flair that is very tastefully done. It’s hard to explain, but like a Ferrari is over the top, yet perfect in every way. It’s a fine line, to design with flair, or restore to perfection without it going to fare, and the Glisenti Brothers nail it. Without nails of course. Just a keen eye, very high standards, and drive. The space and set up is perfect and a work of art unto itself, which tells you more about who they are and how they think than any thing else. So, what are we waiting for, lets take a tour!
The gate to the boat yard says it all. This place is clean, and design heaven
The fist thing you notice is how clean it all is, and there is a new building with cobble stone driveway. The cobblestone alone lets you know they are not going to cut corners.
There are two shops, the original one we walked into first.
Another very rare Abbatte. These boats are built in a limited one of a kind way with speed and power in mind. Only 130 were ever made. And we got to see two in one day. This one has had a complete reskin, and new everything.
The Sons of Italy Sons of Varnish!
The wood shop is very well organized and hospital clean
I know this is a strange photo, but I took it because I have seen this same sort of table at every shop I have been to, and the only difference is the containers are all in Italian. Funny how we are all the same in so many ways.
After a quick tour of the workshop we went into the new shop.
Amazing, and love the simple use of wood on the exterior
The first thing you see is a stunning original design, Glisenti “ASSO”, Asso was the name of a very famous race boat on the lake and the Brothers named this model after that. This is an owners boat and is in for some touch ups.
The name of the model is even custom made
Its all hand made and custom.
She looks fast just sitting there. And she will do about 60knots with a 350 Mercruiser engine. Very light and tight construction
With the push of a button this comes out of the seat. Ya, its slick
Attention to detail on custom made parts. Yes, these are made for the boat.
Davide is all smiles when he talks about the work they do.
The Glisenti name is very well known for there electrical custom work, so you can imagine the set up on this boat.
A ladder comes out from the swim platform built into the design.
You can see the reflection on the finish there. Its dead perfect. No screws, nothing. Just sealed together.
This is a custom fuel cover. That wing just lifts up. How cool is that? Don’t answer, it’s very cool!
Perfection. All original Glisenti design.
Luca Glisenti cracking a smile!
Luca and Davide, showing the fit of the custom top they built from scratch. Yup all the metal was cut on there machines and custom designed for the boat.
I asked if these had a function, yes, they look good was the general translation. We could not agree more.
Same with the bow flag mast. Perfecto!
So, thats just the ASSO, model, there was more, not to mention the cool shop. With very cool portholes throughout to let light in. The building is insulated with 20 inches of insulation so its stays warm in the winter and felt great when we were there.
One of the portholes just still in finish mode.
Small subltle brand touches through out. Very smart, and shows their pride. No one puts there name on something around this place unless its the best.
Over near some windows is an amazing old work bench. Now the artist in me sees this as much more than just a workbench. After all that could be a board on some 2×4’s . this is a statement. Its says we apreciate old world craftsman ship as art. Its are history and we are here to preserve those standards and keep the passion alive. Oh, yes, that workbench is pure passion and craftsmanship . I love it.
It’s a sculpture!
There has been some weight put on that handle that’s for sure. Like the weight of 100’s of years of others before you!
Did I mention the Ducati parked next to it? of course not. But there it is. Kinda perfect together!
This space is amazing. Like a small cathedral of mahoganyness I
Okay, now it’s Monday, and I know you all need to get to work, but we need to talk about the Abbate in the room. This boat is amazing and has been restored to perfection as a sample of the work they can do on restorations. It’s serious stuff and the work is flawless. They have restored Riva’s and other boats, but this Abbate ramps it up. Abbate is a family owned boat company on Lake Como and they are very deep into racing and custom performance boats. I will provide a link at the end of the story. Guido Abbate is like the Gar Wood of Europe to Chris Smith who is Riva. So you kinda get a loose comparison. The boats are similar but different. And both companies are still alive and well, which tells you even more about there standards and passion.
So, here are photos of the 1958 Abbate California.
You saw this shot at the head of the story.
The name plate
The interior is amazing. With nice design touches
The seats, still in plastic, are an Italian style interior also used on the Riva Ariston Cadillac, while the dash is pure automotive design
More of the interior.
The gauges are from a Lancia Aurelia
With some very cool vents down the side. Love love the red inside as a subtle and functional design element
The engine is over the top, and very special BPM Atlantic Super, 225 hp, All aluminum with three Webber’s.
The Webers and amazing engine. WOW!
So, thats the Abbate. Oh there is more, but you will have to come over to lake Como and meet the Glisenti Brothers yourself. These guys could find a boat here, restore it, design one and build it. In the market for a VanDam custom boat but would rather have an excuse to visit Lake Como? Trust me, your wife is going to vote for Italy. See, say, Honey we are going to lake Como. And then come on by and visit and before you know it you are getting a boat made or restored by the Brothers.
Did I mention they make a killer little center console. I told you it goes on and on. You can see it all on there website HERE, and follow them on Facebook.
And the Abbate Website is HERE as promised
And of course to keep the tradition alive. People on cell phones. My people. We are beginning to blend in!
While Davide works on the top, over there on the right. Ugh!
Hell yes! Love the Lancia connection.
Which one did you buy?
I gotta say that Abbate is one insane cool boat. It’s pure style for sure and on this lake would be my go to boat
So you finally found the mother lode😀 and it looks Bunda of Italy
I’m going back to bed with all this new material to dream about.
even the banana looks perfect!
The attention to details is amazing, right down to the multipiece u-jointed steering column. Don’t know why it is required, but really cool. Great story!
wow….never knew such places existed….unreal.
John in Va.
Moto Guzzi motorcycle are made on the shores of Lake Como too.
i had once a Guido Abbate Delphino sport
Wow !…Looks like a place I should take wife and go…
But tell me why was my WB reading interrupted with a survey on WB readership which offered me a flashlight, if I’d pay the shipping. The picture of the flashlight looked like one I could buy in Walmart for a dollar ?
What survey? There should be no surveys at all. We don’t interrupt stories. If this is so it’s not us. Makes no sense
Wow, amazing! One things for sure, when it comes to aesthetic design in boats, cars and motorcycles, the Italians are at the top of the game. 🙂
I have to agree!
“With some very cool vents down the side” – – -Ah Yes, Just like a ‘four hole’ Buick Roadmaster – – From the ’50’s – –