All the latest and greatest cars, super or otherwise, pass through Autocar, but at the start of every staffer's car story is (usually) the humble hatchback in which they learned to drive.
Matt Burt, editor - Vauxhall Chevette 1.3
The car I learned to drive in belonged to my driving instructor, and was an entry-level hatch, so anonymous that I can't quite picture the make or model. The car I honed my skills in, however, I remember vividly. It was a £400 bright red Vauxhall Chevette 1.3 E saloon. To a raw 17-year-old, it seemed to have pretty good performance for a family car and I was sometimes astonished how fast I could get from university in Bournemouth to my family's home in Cornwall. In 1993 it wasn't the most trendy model in the world, but I was very fond of it.
John Bradshaw, chief photographer - Austin Metro
I learned to drive in an Austin Metro, that my dad described as 'champagne', but that I think was just beige. I took my test in an MG Metro, which was a step up, but the Metro was my car. I crashed it shortly after passing my test, after a night out. Rounding a corner, my friend pulled the handbrake, and the car slid into a ditch. It survived, though.
I learned to drive in a bog-standard petrol-powered Ford Fiesta, with a comparatively miserable week in a Peugeot 207 courtesy car when the Fiesta took a big hit with another learner behind the wheel. The Fiesta wasn't the most interesting or unusual, but it did the job. It kept out the nerve-shredding storm-force winds and torrential rain, come test day, too.
Mark Pearson, senior digital reviews editor: Lancia Beta
My father’s Lancia Beta had a twin-cam engine and plenty of brio, but it also had ludicrously heavy low-geared steering, and a driving position that favoured long arms and short legs. With the seat right back and reclined enough to avoid my head brushing the roof, I could barely reach the bottom of the steering wheel, never mind the top.
Darren Moss, content editor: Ford Fiesta Ghia
The car I learned to drive in was also the first car I owned – a 32,000-mile Mk.4 Ford Fiesta. Its 1.25-litre engine wasn’t the last word in refinement, economy, speed, torque or even noise, but I still adored this car. Ghia spec bought a few luxuries too, including a mock wood effect on the dashboard.
Sam Sheehan, senior staff writer: Ford Focus/Ford Escort
Mine was a diesel Ford Focus Mk2 - it was fairly bland so my memories are blurry. My memories of driving a Mk4 Escort at the age of 15 are much clearer. I took it around the block on private land surrounding my dad's garage, and it smelt of unburnt fuel and had a loud, blowing exhaust. Felt like such a geezer though.
I learned to drive partly in a 1976 Mini 1000, and partly in a 1984 Volvo 360 saloon; taught in both by my old man, and passing at the second attempt. My front teeth, however, would probably have preferred it if it was the Volvo, not the Mini, I drove into a tree a month later.
Rachel Burgess, news editor: Vauxhall Corsa
What else could it be but the Corsa? Sold en masse at discounted rates to learning schools across the country, my learner Corsa was accompanied by an eccentric tutor who spent his time making rollies, and giving me 'breaks' so he could smoke them. While I'm, naturally, an outstanding driver, my claim to fame in the Corsa was passing my test with a major fault. Suffice to say, the Corsa didn't leave a huge mark on me.
John Howell, reviewer: Humber Sceptre
I taught myself to drive at 14 on my Uncle's farm in Wales in a 1974 Humber Sceptre. I fixed it up it and used it to blast around the farm, often building impromptu racetracks out of hay bales to practice my car control. It’s still in the barn where I left it; it’s done about 33,000 miles since new, but none harder than the few hundred I put it through back then.
Alan Taylor-Jones, reviewer: Citroën GSA/Vauxhall Corsa
Like many of you, I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel as soon as I turned 17. While I was getting lessons in a dreary first generation diesel Corsa, I’d already purchased my first car in anticipation of my eventual pass, a Citroën GSA Pallas SE. Given the choice between an oil-burning supermini and a brown velour sofa on wheels, I always looked forward to parental guidance in my car over lessons from a professional.
Doug Revolta, editorial assistant: Renault Mégane
I loved my X-reg Megane. The 120,000-mile 1.6-litre beast cost a fortune to insure, but it got me my license and came with me to uni for a couple of years. Unfortunately, when I left the UK for a few months and banished it to Dad’s front drive, a leak in the passenger footwell turned the interior into a mouldy nature reserve, so I had to put it out of its misery.
What car did you learn to drive in? Do you have any memories of learning to drive that you'd like to share? What do you think the best car to learn to drive in would be? Get in touch in the comments below, or write in to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your response is awarded Letter of the Week, you'll win a ValetPro kit worth £58.95