Leica and Saab: Committed to Quality

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

In 2006 I wrote a review of the Leica R9 digital back DMR for Shutterbug. You can read it in full here.

The 10-megapixel Digital-Modul-R, its official name, was a stop gap solution, a clever one at that, that converted Leica’s chunky R8 and R9 35mm film cameras into DSLRs. It cost $5950, in 2006 dollars or about $7,463.62 today. After the review I purchased a used R8 hoping against hope that someday I would be able afford to add that digital back. That never happened.

Saab Automobile AB was founded in Sweden in 1945 when its parent company began a project to design a small automobile. The first production model, the Saab 92, was launched in 1949. In 1968 the parent company merged with Scania-Vabis and ten years later the Saab 900 was launched, becoming Saab’s best-selling model. In the mid-1980s the Saab 9000 model appeared.

How made this shot: The above image was made at a import car recycling center in Erie, Colorado, which I believe is still in business. Camera was a Leica R9 SLR with Digital-Modul-R back. Lens was not recorded by the EXIF data but it had a maximum aperture of f/2.8. Exposure was 1/750 sec at f/9.5 and ISO 200. Even today, the original JPEG file looks impressive.

I’m not sure which SAAB model is shown in the featured image but if any sharp-eyed readers can tell me by clicking on the Contact button and e-mailing me I’ll update the post with your name and the car model. The first person guessing the model of the car will receive a nice present. It’s a SAAB 99! Thanks to Pete Miller of Brighton, Colorado for the first correct answer. Look for more, “name that car” contests this month.

After struggling to avoid insolvency throughout 2011, SAAB petitioned for bankruptcy following the failure of a Chinese consortium to buy the company; the purchase was blocked by General Motors, its former owner, which opposed the transfer of technology and production rights to a Chinese company. SAAB’s return has been rumored for years. It’s supposed to be coming back as an electric car based on the Saab 9-3 platform but under its own new designation NEVS. I haven’t seen one have you?

I never owned a SAAB. Mary came close to purchasing a 9-3 but found the seats to be uncomfortable (it’s one of her hot buttons) but I came close to buying an Aero wagon a few years ago, but we were too late getting to the dealer and someone else bought it. Instead I ended up with a 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250, and you all know how that all tuned out. More on the CLA anon.