The weather was hot, at least by the standards I’m familiar with, and the cars I was here to experience were left-hand drive and had Spanish number plates. If I had woken up in the middle of this scene, rather than several hours earlier and two hundred miles away, I could easily have been persuaded that I was in Barcelona.

Well, no. I was actually in Liverpool, where SEAT had assembled a large collection of brand new cars plus three classics.

I was here for the classics. Driving old cars is almost always fun. You can’t get away from the fact that they are worse than modern ones in almost every respect, but they have a charm which perhaps they didn’t have when they were on sale, and they give you some idea of what life was like in the past.

Sometimes, as in this case, they can also be very significant. SEAT’s historic collection contains 320 cars (the administrators are looking for another 65) and of course some are of greater interest than others.

The three brought over to the UK are, as we’ll see, among the most important the company has ever built. In fact, one of them was arguably responsible for the fact that SEAT lasted beyond 1960, and is widely accepted as a contributor to the economic revival of Spain itself. In terms of its effect on the country in which it was manufactured, it might just be the most important car there has ever been.

The stories of that model and its two younger siblings will be told here. You won’t learn much about what they’re like to drive, because the test route was so short it didn’t actually leave Liverpool, and consisted of two very long straights enlivened by the occasional roundabout and set of traffic lights, but there was enough of it for me to get at least a flavour of these fascinating machines.