Soup it Up: Automakers not only ones doing concept cars

Larry Edsall
Special to The Detroit News

Concept vehicles drew crowds to the North American International Auto Show, but Detroit and the other major international auto shows aren’t the only venues for unveiling a futuristic dream machine. For example, there was Innovation, the Super Sport Utility Vehicle concept that debuted at the recent SEMA Show. (The car, built by Unique Fabricating of Auburn Hills, also was on display at Cobo).

SEMA is short for Specialty Equipment Market Association, and late each fall the people who design and produce parts to customize cars, including the automakers themselves, display their latest wares in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Sometimes, not just customized cars but true concept vehicles are shown at SEMA. The advanced automotive engineering school at Clemson University (yes, the school does more than play football) has had a couple of futuristic concepts at SEMA, and this year Line-X, the Alabama-based producer of protective coatings, such as spray-in pickup bed liners, worked with more than a dozen other companies to create the Innovation SSUV concept vehicle.

“Take a glimpse into the future,” the display panel with the vehicle read. “Technology has shaped automotive manufacturing for over one hundred years. ... Advances in automotive manufacturing arise from the desire for innovation and improvement. The SSUV Concept Car was built with both goals in mind.”

Innovation, the sign continued, is a “highly stylized, off-road concept vehicle that demonstrates new manufacturing capabilities and incorporates raw materials that reduce weight and improve parts’ performance and durability.”

With its aerodynamic and angular body panels, Innovation looks like it might have been designed for traveling at amazingly high speeds across the Arizona high desert or for outrunning Mad Max in a chase across the Australian Outback.

Although you might not believe it, the vehicle’s shining exterior actually is coated with Line-X’s Ultra aliphatic spray-on elastomer. And so is the vehicle’s interior, which uses Line-X XS-1000 and XS-650 products.

Among other innovations showcased in Innovation are:

■TwinShape Duct Technology that is 80 percent lighter, eliminates condensation and absorbs energy and thus reduces buzz, squeak and rattle and other noise and vibration issues in current auto ventilation (heating and cooling) systems.

■Fusion Molding Technology for water and air-sealing components designed to provide enhanced performance.

■Reaction Injection Molding PUR Foam for water-tight sealing of metal and plastic.

■Getzner Polyurethane Technology designed to enhance sealing without fogging.

For more details on Line-X and its products and projects, visit

Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at