At almost five metres long, there’s no missing the flowing curves of the Renault Etoile Filante in the Goodwood paddock. On 5 September 1956, it reached a speed of 191.9mph on a salt flat in Utah, setting a new land speed record in the process.
JUN 24th 2016
In 1956, This Renault Etoile Filante Conquered the World
The Etoile Filante – that’s French for shooting star – was a collaboration between Renault and Turboméca. The latter was a small-scale producer of turbine engines that formed part of the rise of the aeronautic sector following the war. Most notably, the engines were fitted in Alouetta helicopter. The version in the Etoile Filante produced 270bhp at a lofty 28,000rpm.
Naturally, Renault made the most of the promotional opportunity the record brought and it was used to promote the Dauphine, which has recently been introduced to the US market. But the record breaking car wasn’t without drama: adapting aviation turbine engines for use in cars made heat dissipation difficult, and the car caught fire. It would be until the mid 1990s that Renault would restore the car to form part of its heritage collection.
Photography by Tom Shaxson