It might not sound as thrilling as tearing around a circuit in a brand new sports car, but there really are few things more enthralling in a motoring journo’s life than visiting a car factory.

The cutting-edge technology, the sophisticated processes, the thoroughness and coordination of the work, and the sheer attention-to-detail involved with screwing cars together will simply blow your mind.

Ford’s Dagenham diesel centre, which knocks out close to a million engines a year for the Blue Oval’s many and various models, is just such a place. Ford of Britain opened up this engine factory to a few of us yesterday, in advance of the London motor show next week, where it will be ramming home its improving environmental credentials.

We got an hour-long tour of the Tiger engine production line, on which it produces 1.4 and 1.6-litre diesel engines for the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Mazda 3 and Volvo C30. And it produces them all without consuming so much as a volt of national grid power, thanks to the two massive wind turbines you’ll see if you happen to drive past on the A13.