Hope you had a decent Christmas and new year break. I certainly did as I managed to slip out of the country for a few days. Don’t tell Autocar, as I am contractually obliged to be on 24 hour call, in case a stupid observation, blog or comment is needed. Instead I went to Lisbon to look at interesting cars.

Well actually that isn’t true. I was with family members who went to the fine city to look at the architecture, culture and sights and travel on top of open-topped buses and walk for miles and miles and miles. Which is a good thing because I can stop and look at old cars.

As an Autocarista I love the fact that I can see motoring brands that have long since disappeared from our shores, like Lancias, and models that you rarely see - such as Peugeot 505 estates. There also seems to be a large number of reassuringly shabby motors. The lack of salt on the roads means that early model Volkswagen Golfs, Seat Marbellas, Renault 4s and Beetles all look as good as new. Except many of them don’t. That’s because the bodywork often resembles a comfy old sofa. The bodyshops here, if they exist, can’t be very busy at all.