“Howell, do you wanna drive up the hill at Goodwood on Sunday?" 

"No boss, I don't."

"Tough, you're doing it anyway, and stop whinging."

"Okay boss, thank you."

I’ve always tried to avoid the hill climb at Goodwood for one very sound reason: it’s not a circle. Racing circuits are great; you can go round and round, gradually upping the pace until you’ve learnt every twist and turn. On the hill you get one shot, and if you screw up you look like a proper wally in front of 100,000 people.

And what’s to gain? The best I could hope for is not crashing and simply being forgotten. Or crashing, and being immortalised as a loser on YouTube.

Still, I believed I’d be driving the fabulous new Fiat 124 Abarth Rally. “Okay” I thought, “a modern car with powerful brakes and a well-sorted chassis. It’ll be fine.”

As you can see from the pictures, I’d got this slightly wrong. The car I was driving turned out to be an original 1975 Fiat 124 Abarth Rally, with 40-year-old brakes and suspension. It was unique and extremely special, too, being the car that won the 1975 European Rally Championship in the hands of Maurizio Verini; so even more pressure not to crash it then.