RM Sotheby’s has introduced one of the lots of the forthcoming Villa Erba auction. The 1950s Riva yacht, once part of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly’s fleet, has been put to this years’ bid. The event will take place on May 25, 2019 at the lake Como, Italy.
Hull No. 62 out of Riva Tritone series was gifted to the reigning prince of Monaco, H.S.H. Prince Rainier III in early 1958 by a close relative, wealthy Milanese textile industrialist, Mr Gianoglio. The vessel was to represent admiration and gratitude of the presenter.
The hull of the yacht christened Via, features red and white stripes on the wood, reflecting the Principality’s livery colours. Via is powered by two Chris-Craft MCL six-cylinder engines of 5.5 litres, each capable of 175 HP at 3,400 rpm. The engines also feature an automatic diverter dubbing the ‘Chris-O-Matic’, launched when auto industry in the USA was fascinated with pushbutton automatic transmission.
Via was widely employed by the Prince’s family after his marriage to Princess Grace Kelly in 1956. According to RM Sotheby’s, she also served as the prince’s flagship, flying both the flag of Monaco and the personal flag of the prince.
However, Prince Rainier III later replaced Via with a smaller yacht, Riva Junior, used for short trips and water-skiing with Princess Grace and their children. Still, Via remained in their home port, maintained under long-term custodianship of her second owner in Monaco.
Several years ago, the vessel was sent to a Dutch specialist for renovation. The refit works took several years, returning the yacht to her original specification, with her original engines restored. The yacht was refurbished, while her Chris-O-Matic transmission was also rebuilt.
In 2014, the restored craft was purchased by the current owner, anticipating a returned to the home port of Monaco. Riva Via still represents a symbol of wealth and glamour, embodying the spirit of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace.
RM Sotheby’s was incorporated in 1991 as a classic car auction company RM Auctions, with headquarters in Blenheim, Ontario. Since 2015, the company has been partially owned by the world’s one of the most renowned auction houses, Sotheby’s. RM holds the top position in the rating of the most expensive cars ever sold at an auction, with the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for $48,405,000 in August 2018.