Often, old cars disappoint. Especially those you have always wanted to drive. Sometimes, you drove one back in the day, or travelled in one with your dad driving. When the chance arrives years later, the drive may leave you underwhelmed.

We had spent the day with fellow owners and enthusiasts, strolling around ‘The Cloud’ in Auckland. What a location to admire the fabulous collection of MG products old and new. A trip up the Sky Tower and lunch overlooking the bay, then back to the cars to choose our fantasy garage collection. Julie’s choice was clear. The 1955 MG TF that I’d helped to clean the day before. A beautiful car and hugely important as it had been used by (F1 driver) Denis Hulme at the start of his racing career. Yes, a good choice.

As we were preparing to leave in ‘our’ MG ZS180, it was noted that the family Walbran car collection parked on display was one greater than the number of drivers still at the venue. Could Julie drive the ZS so that I could take the MG Metro Turbo back home? No problem. I’d first driven one as a spotty 18-year-old student at the Longbridge factory. I had a training placement in the rectification area at Longbridge and would often be sent to get the breakfast sandwiches from the canteen. Walking was frowned upon when there were brand new production cars with about a pint of fuel in the tank. For some reason, it was always a Turbo that I’d find…… wouldn’t want to be too long and let the breakfast butties get cold.

By the way, could I collect the glamorous lady at the hall entrance and take her back to her hotel? Of course. Who is she? Only Greeta Hulme, wife of the late Denis. OK, the pressure has now increased. I need to start, drive, chauffeur, navigate to a hotel and make sure Julie can follow as neither of us know where we are going. I’ve driven a Metro many times over the years. A Rover 115D company car got me to work and back with suitable frugality, whilst my Rover 114 sprint car took me up hill climbs very quickly. Yet jumping into the Turbo made me think of a toy. What a driving position! Start it up (remember the choke) and revel in a car that comes to life. Chunter off down to the building entrance and collect Greeta.

What fun! Greeta is charming, sharp and full of fun. A short journey along the sea front via a U turn, traffic lights and last-minute lane changes. I think she enjoyed it almost as much as I did. We had a lovely conversation that evening, which I will always cherish.

Much later, we had to head for home. I was tasked with driving the Metro again, following Andrew in his much-modified MG Midget K Turbo. Fabulous roads, no traffic and a howling Midget to chase (as otherwise I’d be lost). Great steering response, throttle adjustability, engine torque and faintly ridiculous driver ergonomics. All in all, a rather overwhelming day.