Wednesday 5th September 1956
Jean Herbert driving the Renault Etoile Filante (Shooting Star) at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, US set a land speed record for turbine-powered cars of 195 mph. In 1954 the French aeronautical turbine’s manufacturer, Turbomeca, proposed that Renault make a gas turbine car, both to exalt the benefits of the technology and to try to break the speed record for gas turbine cars These speed tests also helped promote sales from Renault’s newest car in the United States, the Dauphine. The Étoile Filante later appeared at motor shows all over the world. In the early 1960s, however, the end of the gas-turbine era stopped Renault from making a second car, and its speed record was neglected.
In the mid 1990s, Renault decided to restore the car, with a view to getting it running again. Renault completely dismantled the car at its Billancourt factory in Paris, respraying the chassis and repairing the engine. In front of an expectant crowd, the car was fired up and moved under its own power for the first time since 1956. It’s now conserved as a part of Renault’s Historical Cars Collection.