I probably shouldn’t say this, but if you want to know what’s cooking in the British car industry, spend a few freezing hours on the A46 dual carriageway running into Coventry.

Yesterday, I was cruising up the A46 into Coventry city centre, when a briskly driven Discovery 3 passed me. As it went by I pondered the unusual rear light graphics, wondering how the owner had done it, when the penny dropped.

‘Ah, that’s probably an upcoming facelift model.’

I then saw a white Range Rover Sport wearing matt black bumper covers and an odd cylindrical sensor on the roof. Upgraded engines? Probably.

Later that day, while standing on a Coventry pavement, I watched three very heavily disguised large saloon cars drive by. These prototypes were easy to identify, because they had already been snapped by Autocar spy photographers.

I couldn’t figure out much about the looks of the new Jaguar XJ, but I can say it is very low and very long. In that way, it reminded me of a disguised Porsche Panamera I saw inside Porsche’s R&D centre a couple of years ago.

I still get a thrill from seeing prototypes of new cars. My first ‘scoop’ was in 1990, when I walked out of the W H Smith in Moseley, Birmingham to see an undisguised Rover Metro (an Autocar cover car in its day) stationary in a jam.