WAY back in 1967, my first test car as a motoring journalist was a bright red Vauxhall Brabham Viva.
In truth it was a sparkler of a car, with sporty Brabham features and one of the best small cars of its day.
Now, as retirement beckons, one of my final test cars was another Vauxhall, this time a tour de force of what this favourite manufacturer has achieved over so many decades.
This time it was an Insignia Country Tourer, a successor to a long line of models spawned by the Victor of the 1950s.
But in those days, the larger saloons and estates were mainly for family use, but these days they are really the domain of the business driver.
And it is here that the Insignia really scores.
The car in question is a 2.0 Turbo D all-wheel-drive of the more powerful 210ps ilk.
At £28,435 on the road, this car offers a vast amount with 142mph on tap and a 0-60mph acceleration factor of 7.7 seconds which really does put this vehicle in the sporty zone.
Add the astonishing grip and poise of Vauxhall's 4x4 system and you have a vehicle of great ability which makes it more than a match for some continental rivals.
It is also a very smooth car with power being fed via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
And one of its most important assets is the Vauxhall OnStar service which connects you to an adviser in Luton.
You can use OnStar at any time via a button in the car or a smartphone.
The benefits of OnStar are of great importance. It can diagnose technical and maintenance problems with the vehicle and its location feature could be a lifesaver in the event of an accident.
The emergency services are contacted and your exact GPS position is given.
If you are low on fuel, it can send directions direct to the sat nav,guiding you to the nearest garage and the engine can be immobilised should the vehicle be stolen.
The car is also a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to seven devices and there is fully integrated European sat nav system and an eight-inch colour touchscreen.
And if you do venture on to more rugged tracks there is extra cladding to the wheel arches and lower body.