Home » All Lights On, All The Time: Cold Start

All Lights On, All The Time: Cold Start

Cs Thema Alllights
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There’s a recurring theme in car brochures that you see occasionally, and it’s one I like because of its subtle improbability. It’s the Every Light On conceit, where if there’s a car in the picture with some manner of light, every one of those lights needs to be on, no matter how improbable such a situation would be. This 1984 Lancia Thema brochure is a great example of this, as you can see up there where those two Business Buddies make their way from helicopter to Lancia, ready to continue businessing hard, this time speeding along the ground instead of over it.

In that picture up there, you see the Thema, with no one in it, with every single taillight section illuminated. For this to be possible, that car would have to have its lights on, brake engaged, hazards on (with the pic taken at just the right time to catch them on, not off), and be in reverse. With no one inside it. Somehow. Oh and I think the rear foglamps are on, too.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Cs Thema Alllights2

Happily, the Lancia people kept the full Christmas-lights-in-a-disco theme going on the interior, as you can see every single warning light illuminated, along with all the little lights in the HVAC system that would only ever be lit one at a time per bank of controls. If you’re ever sitting in a car where the dash looks like this, get the hell out, because that thing is going to blow.

 

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Harvey Park
Harvey Park
4 months ago

> every single warning light illuminated

That’s not a pose, it’s the Lancia’s natural state.

John J Gerding
John J Gerding
4 months ago

I wish the lights would all light up on the dash of my ’21 Durango Hellcat. None of the center console lights can be properly seen during the day. The only way they light up is if you turn on the headlights. Stupid design, for sure.

Rockfish
Rockfish
4 months ago

Anyone else see a 1989ish SAAB 9000CD the first time they scrolled to this article?

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
4 months ago
Reply to  Rockfish

Well, the Lancia Thema and SAAB 9000 are platform mates, so they look very similar.

Rockfish
Rockfish
4 months ago
Reply to  Widgetsltd

Huh. Did not know that.

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
4 months ago
Reply to  Rockfish
Ostronomer
Ostronomer
4 months ago
Reply to  Widgetsltd

Funny enough, the climate control panel on the Thema was reminding me of the one in my old Saab 9-3. The details are different, but the columns of rounded buttons and the prominent “Auto” were so familiar. I still miss how well the Saab one worked, and how I could hit the right button without hardly looking at it….

Nlpnt
Nlpnt
4 months ago

How to light the backup lights on an unattended (non-GM) car;

  1. Turn key to ON. Do not start engine.
  2. Engage reverse.
  3. Get out of the car.

This only works with manual transmissions, but that won’t be a problem in 1980s Italy.
As for the dash, given Italian electrics it was probably a good idea to have every single light on the dash light up in test phase every time the ignition’s switched on.

Goblin
Goblin
4 months ago

It’s thanks to the joys of image superimposition, which has existed since photography exists.

Speaking of which – I hope they beat the guy on the right by throwing slides at him and screaming “Shame, Shame!!!“, for not having been able to keep his stance between the separate shots.

And kudos to the Jedi on the left who managed to stand still.

PS: The “All lights on” photo was a thing in the 80s, I had similar ones in all my Porsche ad catalogs, as manufacturers loved to show how many lights and backlights they had.

PSS: If I remember well, the Lancia Dedra actually had the logos and inscriptions on its STALKS backlit as well, with all the little wiper and blinker and whatever logos glowing in the dark. I was stunned when I got into a friend’s Dedra. It was beautiful. And also sometimes even managed to start and drive. Not often.

Last edited 4 months ago by Goblin
Harvey Park
Harvey Park
4 months ago
Reply to  Goblin

The backlit stalks are a brilliant idea, pun inevitable.

Ricki
Ricki
4 months ago

So that interior shot is from the helicopter, right? Look at all those LEDs and buttons and doodads.

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
4 months ago

I could never stand that in VW press pics, the speedo and tach would be at the same position in the sweep, the coolant liar gauge always dead center, but then the fuel gauge would be full. Just PUT IT IN THE MIDDLE so it all matches PLEASE ????

MiniDave
MiniDave
4 months ago

A lot of cars used to have a button on the dash to let you light up every warning light – to make sure they were all working.

Oldskool
Oldskool
4 months ago

But you gotta love it, right? It does look pretty cool. From about age 3 I would go around wiping off car lights, and trying to see what all the dash lights would look like if they were on, and try to ID the unnamed spaces. I’d play with the lights in the family car and run down the battery. I feel bad about it now, how I eventually killed the electrical system in our old beater Cadillac, but at the time what did I know.

As for catching the turn signals, you might be able to pluck a bulb or something to either really slow it down, or make it stick on. I remember old cars blinking slower with age, or just staying on solid if a bulb was burned. But as far as the inside, it’s most obviously staged for advertising. The car company must have hot wired one and staged the odometers for a photo shoot.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
4 months ago

Dark suit guy didn’t come on the chopper. He is just teleporting in. He hasn’t finished the full transfer of matter at the time the picture was taken.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
4 months ago

They forgot the license plate light.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
4 months ago

And the side marker, too, unless that’s just a reflector.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
4 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

The rest of the world doesn’t use side markers, we have to work out where the side of a car is from just the dark gap between headlights and taillights.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
4 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

Except where they have a marker light in the front fender between the wheel and door. (See the Peugeot 309 photo)

Last edited 4 months ago by Alan Christensen
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
4 months ago
James Mason
James Mason
4 months ago

Fantastic find!

Last edited 4 months ago by James Mason
Beached Wail
Beached Wail
4 months ago

The Thema continues

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
4 months ago

“Is that your flood damaged Lancia?”

“Yep, got it for half price but the engine still runs great”

“Any problems apart from the lights?”

“Yeah, the windows won’t go down so it stinks inside, plus, you know, the rust”

Phuzz
Phuzz
4 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

“Yes, but did the flood damage anything?”

Church
Church
4 months ago

This just reminds me of GM vehicles misusing the reverse lights and now I’m angry.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
4 months ago

GET TO THE CHOPPER!

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
4 months ago

Isn’t this the normal dash scenario for one of these?

Nobody
Nobody
4 months ago

I like how they managed to get the trip meter up to 111.1km without putting anything on the odometer! Still 000000!

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
4 months ago
Reply to  Nobody

Easy with the old ones – you twist a dial until all the numbers match, and then keep twisting until they all turn to zero.

Larry B
Larry B
4 months ago

On the upside – the lights work!

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
4 months ago
Reply to  Larry B

When you’re competing in the European market and your competitors use Lucas this is a strong selling point.

Óscar Morales Vivó
Óscar Morales Vivó
4 months ago
Reply to  Larry B

Which is why most cars will turn all the lights on for a second or two when you turn the car on. If you see any light that does not then you ought to have it repaired.

10001010
10001010
4 months ago

hazards on (with the pic taken at just the right time to catch them on, not off)

That explains why the one business bro is blurry. It was more important to the photographer to catch the hazards illuminated than it was to keep the models in focus.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
4 months ago

One guy to the other guy: “so if you thought the chopper was a piece of shit, just wait till we get into this nice new car Raul.”

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
4 months ago

Whenever I see the sunset/golden hour theme with all lights on I wonder if they wired the turn signals to just stay on or just timed it best they could. Maybe depends how much budget they had for the shoot. Fortunately for Hyundai/Kia it wasn’t a thing over the last several years.

Did the Thema have a “test” button that lit up everything on the dash? I wonder how often people actually used those.

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
4 months ago

This is what Lancia Thema tail lights did when you lowered the passenger side front window. The Drivers side switch just flashed the Headlamps, sounded the horn and turned the radio off.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
4 months ago
Reply to  Nic Periton

I’ve actually encountered a few cars just like this. 2 stand out. One was a Kia crossover of some sort that was owned by a lady with swastika tattoos. She had purchased it from her brother for full blue book retail value in spite of the fact that the abs motor had caught fire and burned up a wiring harness under the hood. Every light on the dash was illuminated but somehow the thing still drove. I told the lady several times the cause of her problems was the under hood fire to no avail.
The other was a Chrysler Pacifica that I think had been crashed and improperly repaired. Every switch in the Chrysler did something it wasn’t supposed to do and sometimes it did the thing it was supposed to do as well as other things that were completely unrelated. For example, you could roll down the driver’s window but for some reason the passenger side corner light somehow illuminated as you held down the switch. Turning on the headlights activated the windshield wipers and so many other things I can’t remember.

Last edited 4 months ago by Rusty S Trusty
Citrus
Citrus
4 months ago
Reply to  Rusty S Trusty

Given that description I feel as though the source of her problems was more closely related to a product which once had a successful television series produced about its creation and distribution. And, perhaps, the exact nature of the relationship between her parents in a genetic sense.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
4 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

I agree with that assessment. Probably more bathtub crank than Heisenberg’s blue, though.

Dolsh
Dolsh
4 months ago

I’m assuming they just grabbed a pic of a Lancia on the lot for the interior shot.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
4 months ago

“If you’re ever sitting in a car where the dash looks like this, get the hell out, because that thing is going to blow.”

So just the average Tuesday, for a Lancia owner, right?

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
4 months ago

Italian vehicle owner reporting in, with a temperamental older Ducati.
Reliability is not what they’re known for.

Last edited 4 months ago by Spikedlemon
Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
4 months ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I think the Italians make vehicles on a metaphysical plane. They sell you the idea in their heads of what the vehicle might be. It worked in testing long enough to be plausible, and that’s what matters. Debugging and troubleshooting are unworthy, earthly pursuits.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
4 months ago
Reply to  Flyingstitch

My brother insisted that the primary purpose of his Alfa 146 was to make people passing his house think he was interesting and brave.

The fact that it could sometimes be used as a car was a secondary bonus feature, and was enjoyed as such.

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