Big things with little cars

French Friday: l'Étoile Filante!

After last week’s record-braking 2CV Barbot Spéciale I thought “Let’s do another vintage record braking car”. Even more aerodynamic. And certainly capable of speeds the Barbot Spéciale could only dream about. The Renault Étoile Filante. And if you don’t speak French: that’s for shooting star.

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No 375cc twin boxer engine for this one though. Renault teamed up with Turbomeca, a French manufacturer of supercharger compressors and Turbojet engines. Actually, the idea came from Turbomeca themselves but having no experience with creating entire cars made them turn to Renault.

Turbomeca had developed a 270hp gasturbine capable of 28k rpms. Renault’s Albert Lory and his team created a car capable of speeds way over 300 km/h (officially “320 km/h”) and kept it’s weight at 950 kgs so it could compete in the <1000kg record-class.

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After quite some period of windtunnel tests (2 years!), at the 4th September of 1956, the Étoile Filante was taken to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to give it a go. The choice for taking it Stateside was a marketingchoice as well as Renault had just introduced it’s Dauphine in the US. Behind the wheel was French rally/Le Mans/testdriver Jean Hébert.

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And they did quite good. With an average speed of 307km/h, or 191 mph for you readers from the new world, they set a new world record. And after that it was finished with gasturbines for Renault. Or in general I suppose. FIAT’s Turbina was introduced before this one but was FIAT’s last turbine car. General Motors had it’s Firebird concepts. And Chrysler even had some Turbine cars (Hot Wheels!) on the road in the early sixties. But the public was/is just not ready for a car sounding like a... Vacuüm cleaner.

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Turbomeca continued producing turbine engines though. Many choppers use their (developed in collaboration with Rolls-Royce - not the car company!) Turboshaft engines. The one-off Étoile Filante itself ended up in Renault’s own Renault Car Collection after a thorough restoration.

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This model is a 1/43 from Eligor. And they somehow tried to give it a vintage Dinky Toy feel. Just look at that driver. And the box. I forgot to shoot pictures of. That driver could be a blu tack figurine Tinfoil created as well btw.

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And another Chroma key / green screen try out for me. You still see too much of the green background reflecting in the side so maybe I should dim the lights a bit more and get the colors/lighting better afterwards while editing. But that’s for a next piece. On Sunday. Tuesday. Or Friday. Vive la Régie. Vive la Vendredi Francaise. Bon Week-end!

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