After a bit of time to consider, I think the 15-minute phone interview I had a couple of days ago with Lotus chief Jean-Marc Gales – during which he talked of making other Lotus models outside of sports cars as a route to sustainable profits – was more encouraging than any I've ever had with a Lotus boss.

And I've done the lot - a dozen of them over the past 30-odd years, going right back to Colin Chapman.

What made chatting with Gales special? The fact that the ex-PSA chief's plans for the Hethel-based sports car company seem entirely rational, something only sparingly associated with Lotus revival plans of the past.

In this game you get slowly better at recognising rationality as the fortunes of the UK's unique patchwork of car companies ebbs and flows: as rolling disasters like the Phoenix Four's doomed Rover Group have imploded, and as tiny hotbeds of genius like the 100-a-year Ariel Motor Co. have prospered. You grow a better – though never infallible – nose for knowing what will work and what won't.