Renault Suprastella1938 - 1942
The Renault Suprastella was a large car presented by Renault in the Spring of 1938 as a replacement for the Renault Nervastella from which it inherited its mechanical elements and many other essential characteristics. A new feature was a wrap-around front grill of horizontal bars: the new grill, regarded by some commentators as a move towards a more vulgar "look" would become a general feature across the Renault range during 1939. Prices through in 1938 ranged from 84,000 francs for the large steel saloon with its 3210 mm wheelbase to 102,000 Francs for the longer 3720 mm wheelbase 8 seater limousine version. This placed the Suprastella towards the higher end of the price bracket occupied, with their "standard" coachbuilt bodies, by luxury automakers such as Delage and Delahaye, although with all these cars, any buyers happy to specify car bodies independently from specialist coachbuilders could easily spend considerably more.
It was intended primarily as a large limousine, although cabriolet and coupe versions were also listed. In practice the intention will have been to produce the car in “bare-chassis” form for dedicated coachbuilders to fit their own bespoke bodies: typically the car was 5600 mm long. The car was intended to demonstrate that France could still build high-end luxury cars, but because of the way history turned out the Suprastella was the last of this line, and Renault would emerge from the Second World War as a state-owned manufacturer only of small cars.
The Suprastella was powered by a traditional 8-cylinder in-line engine of 5448cc which had already appeared, towards the end of its production run, in the Nervastella. Maximum power was listed at 110 hp (82 kW) at 2,800 rpm, and claimed top speed was between 135 km/h (84 mph) and 145 km/h (90 mph), according to the chassis length and body type specified.
A massive 6500 mm long version of the Suprastella, using the longer 3720 mm wheelbase, became one of the most photographed cars in France during the 1940s. This was a cabriolet-bodied limousine with coachwork by Franay, delivered to the government in 1943 after it was decided that Marshal Pétain needed a new state car. The car had high ground clearance, and one unusual feature was the step beneath each door that folded out automatically when the door was opened. Although the car performed its function for Pétain, and in April 1944 was photographed containing him on his first visit as leader to Paris, the better-known images of the state Suprastella date from August 1945 when General de Gaulle, having succeeded in entering Paris ahead of the American army, toured the city, standing straight in the rear part of the car, accompanied by the war hero General Lattre de Tassigny. The car survived to serve the Fourth Republic, taken into government service by President Auriol.
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|Renault Suprastella||ABM8 (long)|