The last few years of Lancia sales in the UK were depressing for this proud Italian marque, with figures plummeting and losses mounting.

There were some decent models on offer, however, including the Thema executive saloon; and in this 1985 advert, Lancia reckoned that it had “a few words of warning for Renault, Ford, Mercedes and BMW”. The ad went on to quote various group tests from Autocar, Car and What Car? magazines, in which the Thema appeared to do rather well.

“The Thema is particularly keenly priced” said Autocar. “It’s the Lancia Turbo that has the best performance of the five cars tested” claimed What Car? when comparing the Thema with the Alfa Romeo 90, Audi 90, BMW 520i and Mercedes-Benz 190E. “As a high performance saloon, it is right in the front line of desirable cars” explained Car. All of which makes it even more tragic that UK sales of the Thema didn’t live up to expectations.