This Custom Harley-Davidson Is A Stunning Tribute To Riva Yachts
Boat and bike goals converge.
When one wistfully dreams of luxurious destinations for the Succession set, like Lake Como or the Amalfi Coast, the reveries almost undoubtedly include visions of skipping across the glassy surface on a Riva Aquarama motorboat. Crystal-clear Italian water splashing against its sleek mahogany sides, a beautiful partner at your hip with hair flapping in the wind.
You stare purposefully through the wraparound windshield, guiding the steering wheel with casual determination—allowing the art of Dolce far Niente to lead you where it will for the day. It is a similar reverie that inspired customizer and designer Matteo Fustinoni to craft his latest, and greatest, Hazard Motorcycle yet: the Ghisarama.
Legend has it that two of Italy’s greatest entrepreneurs and lovers of speed met on Lago d’Iseo in the summer of 1962, shared a Campari, and made a pact to craft the fastest, and most beautiful, Aquarama ever—which is where Matteo’s story begins.
You grew up near Lago d’Iseo, the home of Riva. What’s your best memory of an Aquarama?
Since I was a child in the summer after school, my mother took me to Lake Iseo right near the shore where a family friend often loaded all the children on the beach and took us far and wide on his splendid Aquarama Special. There I fell madly in love with that wooden boat, and with the roar of the twin V8 engines. One day our family friend Mauro told me the story of this legendary Lamborghini Aquarama, when in 1962 Ferruccio Lamborghini met Carlo Riva.
The two sat down and Ferruccio said, “Carlo you have ‘Made in Italy’ in your blood, you make the best and most beautiful boats in the world, but those two American engines—no, no, they can’t be seen. Can I give you two Lamborghini engines for my Aquarama?” And so the unique Lamborghini Aquarama was born. The fastest Riva of those times. So, after more than 40 years I decided to dedicate a motorcycle to these two Italian personalities.
Utilizing the Lamborghini 350 GT V12, it was the fastest Aquarama ever built. Was there any interest in prioritizing speed in your Harley-Davidson Sportster inspiration?
I have been dealing with Harley-Davidson for 29 years and have done many strange bikes: Marilyn, La Veloce, Bari Vecchia, Hazard, and now Ghisarama. I like to invent and create sometimes where others dare not. Ghisarama was born from an old Ironhead from the ’80s, a motorcycle abandoned by a mechanic, full of dust and almost destined to fall apart. I decided to buy it and create this work dedicated to Riva and Lamborghini.
What’s your favorite customization on the Ghisarama? What inspired it?
I immediately focused on the engine. I wanted two double-bodied Weber [carburetors] like the Lamborghini engine that has twelve! But how to install two on a HD engine? I bought a front head and turned it 180 degrees and made two manifolds, one on the right and one on the left, and bang!—the two Webers were placed. This increased the engine size from 900cc to 1,000cc. Now we need a fast [silhouette] line that recalls speed and passion, so I arm myself with wire and cardboard and created the shape. OK, I like it!
How did you get artists like Andrea Pozzoli and Davide Aresi to help with the metal-shaping, mahogany, etc.?
Andrea and I are great friends, we share the same passion for motorcycles, speed, beer… and women. For the realization of the bodywork we spent about two months last winter beating aluminum—the whole body and the tank are hammered by hand in foil of aluminum. Finally the fairing and tank were ready, but in my vision it must be made of mahogany on the side just like on the actual Aquaramas. So I called Davide Aresi, who is also a great friend and a wood-master. He cut, steam-bent and covered in 100% real mahogany the aluminum body. Then we spread some layers of transparent varnish as on the real boats.
Lastly, in the same way, I contacted the great Ivan Motta Design and we chose original Riva colors for the paint job. Then for the final piece came another close friend and saddlemaker, Luca Ronzoni of L&R Leather. He helped us by making a beautiful saddle with the original Riva [upholstery] material. So all winter me and my staff of friends worked on the motorcycle between pizzas and beers. This is Ghisarama: a story of a motorbike… but above all a story of friendship.