I’m adding this press release to the archives here for two reasons.
First, because I haven’t got it on file yet, which is a rather stupid oversight.
And second, because I’ve just added a huge gallery of X-ray Saabs to the downloads section of the website! Not all of the X-ray Saab images are by Rony Lutz, his ones are in the minority, actually, but I think you’ll enjoy them anyway.
Rony Lutz, the man with X-ray eyes
With the precision of an engineer and the aesthetic sensitivity of an artist, Rony Lutz has spent the past thirty years depicting Saab’s technical innovations. From the pre-turbo days to the current Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan, his sharp eyes and sure hand have helped millions to not only understand the technology of Saab cars, but also appreciate their beauty.
Since 1972, each Saab model has left the factory accompanied by several X-ray-like illustrations. The new Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan is no exception. From the cabin interior, engine bay and suspension layout to the body structure and active head restraints, pretty much every single component has been beautifully illustrated. And behind each image, you’ll find the same man has mapped out and highlighted various components bit by bit with his pens, brushes and airbrush. And always by hand!
”My job is a blend of artistry, technical curiosity and teaching,”explains Rony, who was trained at an art school in Nuremberg in the 1950s. “Illustrating components is one thing, but they must be illustrated in such a way that the viewer understands why they are important.. ”I also want to make sure each illustration can be used for different purposes, such as advertisements, service manuals and training material.”
Each illustration requires strenuous work. Lutz often borrows various components from Saab to work with in his office at home. This could be anything from a gearbox to a turbocharger or even a seat belt.
”One time I even dragged home an entire car door so I could dissect it properly.”
Rony Lutz usually follows a routine when creating a new illustration. First he sketches using a thin pencil. Next he fills it in with water-soluble paint using a brush. His final step is to use his only technical tool, an airbrush with compressed air and a tiny nozzle with ”spray paint”.
”I don’t have anything against technology, but I think my method has many advantages over pure computer graphics. It might just be that I am stuck in the ideas of my generation and am part of a dying breed. But, because I illustrate by hand, I am forced to have a more hands-on understanding of every little component. If I understand why a certain aspect is good, I can choose to highlight it as clearly as possible. I think my three best characteristics as a technical illustrator are my artistic talent, my technical interest and my steady hand.”
Rony Lutz illustrations have been published in major motor magazines all over the world. In the past year, viewers of ”Trafikmagasinet”, a popular programme on cars and traffic produced by Swedish public service television ”Sveriges Television”, were able to see one of his creations. Part of the scenery in the programme was based on an illustration of a Saab 9000 engine.
Even though the launch of the new Saab 9-3 is now underway, Rony Lutz has already lived with the car for three years. He knows it inside and out and has illustrated many of its components. Because he is the only one of his type in the company, he is one of the key players in depicting the car in printed material.
A minor incident which demonstrates the impact of Rony’s illustrations occurred when his daughter was working in a restaurant in San Francisco. Some guests sat at a table with a number of car brochures for different brands, including Saab. Rony’s daughter saw a spread with an X-ray of a Saab 9000 CS and could not resist saying ”my dad drew that”.
”She quickly explained herself and the amazed lunch guests stared at her with huge eyes and said ’it must be a sign from above’. Shortly afterwards they pulled up outside the restaurant and happily tooted from their new Saab,” Rony adds with a chuckle.