They say nobody’s perfect. They might change their mind once they’ve met Perlita Too, a 1953 Riva speedboat. Why am I using a 60 year old wooden boat to illustrate perfection? Because the story of Perlita Too is just that good. If you are on fire for your own project – if you think your machine has a soul – this story will speak to you. It will remind you how important your work is and what it takes to realize your full potential; to triumph.
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION
Perlita Too is a 1953 Riva speedboat. Originally built by Mr. Carlo Riva in Italy, she was the first of those classy Italian speedboats sold in America; to a bigshot Hollywood producer (who bought her to be a smaller runabout to his other boat, named Perlita). As with most vehicles, she got passed around a bit before ending up in a storage container in a barn somewhere in northern California. (See the gearhead connection now?) That’s where James and Casudi found her and that’s where things get really interesting.
I think I first met Perlita Too in the summer of 2009. Might have been related to a chat on Twitter about project management or something. I ended up on The Barn Find Riva site, where Casudi and James have been documenting much of the work. I was immediately drawn to the story of a forgotten machine, neglected in a barn, saved from the elements by passionate enthusiasts, and the intricacy of a complete restoration.
For the most part, I think it’s often unreasonable, if not foolish, to hold out for perfection. Perfection is so hard to come by, so rare, holding out for it can be – for many people – a recipe for failure. Case in point? Any perpetually JSB (jack stand baller) project car you know of. The pursuit of absolute perfection is an all or nothing affair. Either you have the most spectacular specimen anyone has ever seen – or you have nothing.
That is, of course, unless you have specific, measurable goals. I don’t know if James and Casudi had perfection in mind from the get-go, but I think the goals they set for the project along the way are what showed them how close to perfection they really were and inspired them to go beyond the extra mile. Where others find themselves mired in perpetual lack of tangible progress, these two broke an immense project down into smaller pieces and methodically got things done.
THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR WORK
I consider myself lucky to have stumbled upon the Barn Find Riva when I did. It started out as novel curiosity – if the hull of a ship is what makes it a ship, is it really a restoration if you replace the hull? But then I noticed I had something in common with James and Casudi. They had a dream and they were systematically taking steps to realize it. I could see how much they cared about this machine and what it meant to them – and everyone else.
The world is full of squandered potential. I think we are all capable of perfection – we just don’t get enough support from society to make us think we are. Precious few vehicle owners care for their machines as much as we do ours. How can we justify spending so much time and money on something that never runs? By making them run, I say.
If you’re working on a project car or truck or bike or even boat, your work is important not just to you but to everyone who has an unrealized automotive goal. The more we see others realizing their gearhead dreams, the more we see others enjoying the fruits of their labors, the more we aspire to such things for ourselves. More to the point, the more we begin to think it’s possible for ourselves.
Recently, James and Casudi attended Riva Days in Italy. While there, they gave Mr. Carlo Riva a book they had made to commemorate the completion of the restoration. He hugged the book, closed his eyes, and proclaimed, “I LOVE MY PERLITA TOO.”
Reading the “final” chapter in the Barn Find Riva story (I suspect she’s about to clean all kinds of house on the show circuit), I found myself inspired. To leave a comment, to write this story. I’m just going to close this piece with that comment.
From the very beginning, this story has touched people. Not merely as a pleasant distraction from the inbox or the automaton reading Power Point slides at the front of a dimly-lit room, but really grabbed hold of us and drawn us in.
There is a quality beyond quality, wherein the warmth of the meticulously selected wood and the heat of the hulking Scripps V12 is stoked by the fire clearly evident in the hearts of the owners who saved this precious machine from a dusty barn somewhere no longer relevant. I think I speak for all of us who have followed along when I say the story of Perlita Too is a story of redemption and the triumph of the human spirit. In sharing this story with us, you have demonstrated the potential in all of us – if we just choose to believe in that potential and never, ever, ever, give up.
YOU CAN DO IT
Perfection is within your reach. The only thing standing between you and the spectacular mechanical project which inspires hundreds of people around the world is you. If you can’t afford a no-expenses-spared restoration of something exotic, that’s okay. Few of us can! But you CAN break your projects down into smaller, manageable pieces, and do your absolute best every step of the way.
That’s what perfection looks like. Every project can be the Perlita Too someone else loves. Go read through Perlita Too’s story and get inspired to do great things.