When I wandered into the Royal College of Art yesterday, it dawned on me that it’s 21 years since I first visited the Vehicle Design degree show. Back in 1991, I had a couple of friends graduating from the course and I visited them now and again.

What really struck me was the difference between the design approach of the class of 1991 and the class of 2012. It’s a difference that will feed through into the cars we can buy.

You will recognise some of the names - or their work - from 1991. Marek Reichman (now design boss at Aston Martin), Niels Loeb (pen behind the VX220 and a big cheese at Opel for many years), Geoff Gardiner (Citroen, Ford and now Renault) and Thomas Ingelath (VW, Skoda and now the new Volvo design boss).

There was a very distinct feel to the Class of 1991. They put a huge emphasis on illustration and high quality model making. Renderings were of an astonishing standard, probably never bettered since. Designs were extremely refined, polished and sophisticated.