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The Renault Suprastella was a large car presented by Renault in 1939 as a replacement for the Renault Nervastella from which it inherited its mechanical elements. 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.

A massive 6500 mm long version of the Suprastella, its wheelbase lengthened to 3720 mm, 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.

Types

  • ABM8
  • BDP1