For Lotus, see also Aston Martin and Maserati. But no longer BentleyPorsche or Rolls-Royce. They’re all grand old brands; some are now grand new brands.

What’s the difference? Somewhere along the line with the grand new brands, an owner realised what they had and invested in it not just once but time and again. And eventually – with perennial, not just one-off profit – the rewards have come.

With others, the owners (probably) realised what they had but the funds, patience or work rate gave out before the potential was fulfilled.

Typically that would come after creating a standout model – one brilliantly received and that would have supported an expansion of the range if only the longer commitment had been there. See the Lotus Elise, Aston V8 Aston Martin VantageAston DB9 and Maserati Granturismo.

The difference in luxury or sports car firm hierarchies is almost like the difference in sportspeople. Some will win a title, be congratulated and, acknowledging the toll it has taken on them and their loved ones, sit back with the satisfaction of that trophy perennially on their shelf. Others will win and think: “Brilliant. Now, where does the next one come from?”

2 Lotus elise front

The back catalogue of sports cars is littered with one-timers. Firms whose brilliantly received car would realise a profit quickly swallowed as that highlight dimmed and wasn’t joined by others. So the car would soldier on, ever less competitive but successful enough to keep the lights on, and you would end up with a firm that, as Andy Palmer said of Aston when he was the incoming CEO, basically never made any money.