Many memorable things happened in 1990. Nelson Mandela walked free from prison; Berlin took a wrecking ball to its infamous wall; and meanwhile, some chaps in France and Britain began burrowing a tunnel under the sea. 

As a young 15-year old at the time, I was aware of all these momentous things. Yet I was preoccupied with other, more pressing matters, such as trying to fathom out why I needed hair on parts of my body other than my head; my burning, yet unrequited love for Kylie Minogue; and the promise of a truly momentous car: the Vauxhall Lotus Carlton. 

I’ve since got over the hair thing, Kylie is still an ever-present, yet unfulfilled fascination, and the Lotus Carlton? It’s remained a hero car, or more accurately, an automotive deity ever since.

Finally, after 27 years, the chance came my way to drive one, and even though the Lotus Carlton’s been written about many times before, I’d like to share with you my thoughts on meeting my hero. First, though, allow me to explain to those who perhaps don’t know, and remind those that do, why it is such a momentous car.