Alongside the Aquarama, the Ariston is perhaps Riva’s best known model, considered to be the purest classical Riva shape, and certainly one of its most popular.
The Ariston was available in three different versions. The ‘normal’ Ariston, 804 of which were built between 1950 and 1972, was supplemented by the more powerful Ariston Cadillac in 1956-7, nineteen of which were built. This, in turn, was superseded by the Super Ariston in 1960, which continued to be produced until 1974; these can be distinguished by their larger engines (275 – 350 hp) and a wooden ‘gunwale’ around the rim of the bow deck.
Originally fitted with a two part screen this was later changed to a wrap-around styled screen that enabled a folding hood to be fitted.
The upholstery was chequered black and white with a yellow trim. From boat number 235 the chequed fabric was replaced by the famous Zebra patterned upholstery with green trim. A new dashboard and instruments were fitted together with the “Ariston” logo. Side pockets and a semicircular plexiglass retaining tray were also added and in 1960 the driving seat was made to fold flat. In 1962 the Zebra upholstery was further replaced, with a similar style to that of the Tritone, using ivory coloured ribbing with pastel green trim.
In 1968 the fore deck was modified featuring a raised edge, or gunwale, which improved the look of the fore deck itself and provided a non-slip security for those using the fore deck area. The deck inlay was also changed to being just down the centre section.
Following experimentation with the deeper “V shaped” bottoms, in the 1966 and 1967 series, the new Riva Crusader engine was then installed.
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 metres – 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.