So what’s illuminated there?

The secret of a long-term relationship is that your partner can still surprise you even after many years. So they say. The relationship with our family station wagon has now actually gone on longer than was originally planned. Calling it a partner would be a bit too much, but our grand old girl is still pretty good when it comes to surprises. Last night when I was on my way home from a wedding, I pulled away my right hand from the automatic gear selector lever a little further up, and it somehow shone in this slight amber tinge. Since I’d stayed sober it couldn’t have been an illusion. So I held my hand a little higher again … brighter; and even higher … very bright; there’s something built into the bottom of the rear-view mirror, isn’t there?

Ambient lighting ex works?

At the bottom of the auto-dimming rear-view mirror a small amber LED shimmers down. You can’t see it while driving. But it plunges the entire center console in an almost indiscernible, very subtle veil of light which is only vaguely perceptible in complete darkness. And the presence of which is only noticeable when you cover the lamp. Because then it’s completely dark in the middle of the car, and each switch that isn’t illuminated can at best only be felt. In the year 2001, lounge lighting, ambient lighting or similarly dubbed lighting systems hadn’t been standard yet in conventional automobiles. Some vendors had “Ambient Packages” or “Lighting Packages” on offer; I probably got one of them without noticing. Yup, I’m right. The front and rear footwells are also lit. You never stop learning.

Magical amber

What I find interesting is how discreetly a lighting solution has been implemented so you always suspect it’s there, but never really notice it. The altogether very dark interior of this trim is secretly brightened a little, all switches are easy to find, and yet it doesn’t dazzle or annoy anybody. A quality that today not even conventional USB car chargers with a built-in LED manage. Something I later read about on the web and is sorely missed on our model is the illuminated door handle cups. They were also around back then, and today more or less every compact car has them ex works. But it looks like the previous owner scrimped a bit. Or all four are broken. I have to get to the bottom of this soon.

LEDambient for retrofitting

If your beloved car has no ambient lighting installed ex works but you would like to have it, you won’t have to buy a new car. Osram has some pretty stylish products in their portfolio which you can use to enhance the dark interior of your car, and even control the whole thing with an app. Because come next fall you might not be satisfied with a small glimmer of light under the rear-view mirror and a few illuminated footwells. Like me basically. Christmas isn’t that far away, perhaps Santa Claus will bring you some LED lights this year? In the meantime, I’ll continue searching for hidden lamps in my car, the presence of which I’ve known nothing about so far.

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