MANAGING PERFECTION ~ BARN FIND RIVA

September 6th, 2009 by James Ferris


This is the THIRD update about our “over-the-top” restoration of an extraordinary Italian Riva speedboat christened Perlita Too.

Perlita arrived in Hollywood in 1953, ordered from the factory in Italy by Film Producer Roland Reed, after he had been impressed by a Riva on a boat show stand in Milan. Mr. Riva still has some of the original correspondence from Roland Reed, which he showed us when we visited him in Italy some years ago.

001

This is Perlita Too arriving in LA in a special wooden crate; Roland Reed in the foreground grinning like a Cheshire cat :-)

002  Here Perlita is being christened with a bottle of Champagne by actress and long time companion, and business associate of Roland Reed, Dian Fauntelle.

Here Perlita is being christened with a bottle of Champagne by actress and long time companion, and business associate of Roland Reed, Dian Fauntelle.

With provenance like this, the restoration needs to be PERFECT! I asked my Design Partner, James Ferris, to continue:

JAMES: It comes down to striving for “perfection”; taking each category and looking for the very best craftsman, restorer or fabricator in their field, to commit to our project. A couple of weeks ago I took all the chrome hardware to Richard Frisch, at Queen City Plating in Seattle. I had selected Queen City Plating about a year ago, after reviewing at least half a dozen plating companies around the US. Richard was feeling pretty good when I arrived, as on the weekend prior, his client Robert Lee of Reno had won Best in Show at Pebble Beach, with his 1935 HORCH 835 Cabriolet. Richard and his team at Queen City Plating had restored all the chrome, and believe me, there was a lot of it!

1935 HORCH 835 Cabriolet

1935 HORCH 835 Cabriolet

 

JAMES: My first step was to catalog & organize all the pieces. I have found (the hard way!) that the more organized I am, the better the final product will be, and with every piece identified it reduces the possibility for misunderstandings.

Inventoried pieces, stripped of the old plating and lined up according to need, ready for the initial steps of metal finishing

Inventoried pieces, stripped of the old plating and lined up according to need, ready for the initial steps of metal finishing

When I returned the following week, Richard had already inventoried the pieces and stripped the old plating from them; lining them up according to need, ready for the initial steps of metal finishing.

First of many steps in the metal finishing process prior to the final layer of chrome plating

First of many steps in the metal finishing process prior to the final layer of chrome plating

This is the first of many steps in the metal finishing process prior to the final layer of chrome plating. Some pieces may require two or even three copper plating and polishing steps before the final chrome plating.

Queen City Plating's massive and complex water filtration system which recycles all of the water used in the many steps in plating

Queen City Plating’s massive and complex water filtration system which recycles all of the water used in the many steps in plating

As you might expect, the chrome plating process involves many potentially hazardous materials (many plating companies have had to close because they couldn’t meet EPA standards). Queen City Plating, started in 1923 has taken a proactive stance, and created a massive and complex water filtration system which recycles all of the water used in the many steps in plating. The toxic metals are separated out and compressed in a special filtration/compression device. The remaining waste materials are collected regularly and sent to an approved disposal facility.

007

JAMES: I have discussed finish options with Richard extensively, and specified a variety of plating finishes including yellow zinc, copper, and nickel chrome. Based on the results they achieved for the Pebble Beach winner, I am anticipating something as close to PERFECT as is possible :-)

008 CASUDI: A restoration like this has multiple tracks, quite similar to a major house renovation, or cooking a complex recipe, so keeping things coordinated to insure that everything is ready when required, can be quite a balancing act. Just like cooking the perfect banquet!

Categories like the wood working of the hull (stay tuned), or the engine restoration, get started almost immediately. That was in Fall of 2007. The engine is nearing completion, and the hull is making good progress; however, one may have to wait for some things, like getting the moisture content in the wood planking just right (just as in a recipe you might have to chill an ingredient overnight :-) The chrome is definitely the ‘frosting on the cake’, and it will be done before year end. We’ll put that in the ‘freezer’ until final assembly, hopefully well before the big Lake Tahoe boat show.

Next on the agenda is a discussion of the ins and outs of making our own upholstery fabric…….

For previous updates please see Barn Find Riva (Summer 2008 ) and Essence of Italian Design (August 2009).

Comments, suggestions or discussion; please comment below, or email James directly at idesign@esse-group.com.

Caroline Di Diego
@CASUDI
www.inclinedesign.info
INCLINED TO DESIGN

View Comments ยป

Comments are closed.