The 'shooting star' celebrates more than 60 years of going really, really fast
On September 5, 1956, three months after it was revealed to the press at Monterey, the Renault Etoile Filante (shooting star to non-French speakers) set the land speed record for a gas turbine-powered car at the Bonneville Salt Flats with Jean Herbert at the wheel. Two of those records are still held today: 306.9km/h (190.7mph) over a kilometre and 308.9km/h (192mph) over five kilometres.
The car spent two years in the wind tunnel with aerodynamic features borrowed from the aeronautical industry; it was powered by a 270hp gas turbine normally fitted to helicopters and capable of spinning up to 28,000rpm. The body was clad in polyester and, staying tragically true to its name, one of the two models produced burnt out after a record attempt. This week Renault released new pictures of the shooting star as part of its Vision 2027 project, and we think it looks absolutely spectacular. What better way to celebrate a high-speed legend than by adorning your desktops with the car in its natural habitat - the Bonneville Salt Flats?