Meeting Rony Lutz

I think I’ve mentioned before that one of the great pleasures of the Saab Festival is that so many unexpected take place. You can’t prepare for it. All you can do is go with the flow.

Such an encounter happened to me today, when I was fortunate enough to meet Rony Lutz. That name might be familiar to some, but I’m sure all of you have seen some of Rony’s work through the years.

Stuff like this, for example:

Yes, Rony is the guy who did all the X-Ray Saab images. As I discovered today, though, he did a lot more than that. In fact, Rony did just about all of the illustrative work that appeared in Saab brochures through the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s and early 00’s.

See that cabinet to Rony’s right? It’s full of his drawings for different models through the years.

Rony is German by birth but has now been living in Sweden for 50 years. He started at Saab in 1969 and moved with the company from Linköping, to Södertälje and then to Trollhattan. He retired from work with Saab around 5 years ago but still does drawings – by hand – and is currently doing illustrative work for a book on aerodynamics.

Rony was kind enough to take me through a few images, showing me how they would begin them with photographs, sometime of real-life cutaways. All of the illustrations were done completely by hand, using watercolor paints. Doing fine details, such as the radiator in the image below, was paintstaking work, both mentally and physically.

You may not be able to see it on that photo, but the DI cassette was added to this engine drawing after it was already completed, simply by tracing the original area where the cassette would be added, doing the illustration of the cassette on another sheet and then sticking it over the original.

I was amazed as I looked through this cabinet, seeing full size illustrations that I’ve previously seen in old brochures for the Saab 99, and early 900.

I had no idea that the man responsible for the brilliant X-Ray images also did the brochure illustrations for Saab. His work was one of the reasons that the brochures were so engaging. They drew you in and helped you to learn more, which is why it was such a pleasure to meet Rony today.

Rony was selling prints of some of his drawings at the Car Boot Sale today, the final event of the festival. I wonder how many people realised the full extent of his work as they reviewed or purchased his work.

It’s just another day in Sweden!

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