Steve Pasteiner used to be an automotive designer for GM. He left in 1988, after 22 years, to open his own specialty automotive shop, where he designs and builds fantastic one-off and prototype vehicles and does some awesome restorations of older cars. One of his more recent prototype builds was a vehicle I call the FrankenVehicle. It reminds me of something out of the original Mad Max. It’s just missing the pipe spouting fire and the machine guns and spikes. Pasteiner calls it the SSUV. The SSUV was unveiled to the public at this year’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas at the beginning of November.
The SSUV Was Commissioned Specially by and for Two Pasteiner Clients
Two of Pasteiner’s clients got together and commissioned him to build this one-off prototype vehicle to showcase his work and their products. Line-X is a supplier of super strong and durable spray-on bedliners for pickup trucks. Their automotive products also have many other applications, from vehicle (especially truck) rocker panels to boat trailers.
Line-X says that if you want to protect something from the elements and abuse, Line-X has you covered. The company also has a line of accessories that include truck steps, mud guards, bed caps, floor liners, toolboxes and much more. They supplied the front and rear seats for the SSUV. The rear seats are coated with a Line-X flexible protective coating, while the fronts are just some generic buckets.
Unique Fabricating was founded in 1975. They provide non-metallic die-cut parts to Ford, GM and Chrysler that deliver solutions for air and water sealing, acoustics, and BSR applications. They have since expanded into a number of other industries, including appliances, commercial water heaters and industrial HVAC.
Products from Both Companies Were Incorporated into the SSUV Build
A number of Line-X coating products were used during the build process of the SSUV. One of these was a spray-on protective product for fabrics and foam applications that is extremely elastic for durability and flexibility. Much of the exterior was coated with other protective coatings from the same company; the undercarriage was coated with their specialized off-road undercoating and the rocker panels with their specialty textured rocker panel treatment. Line-X products were also used to coat the floor for weatherproofing, protection, and sound dampening.
Pasteiner Modified a Newer Jeep JK Wrangler
Pasteiner tells me that the people at Line-X delivered a newer Jeep Wrangler to his shop and told him that they and Unique Fabricating wanted him to “make us something cool that highlights our products and services.” What you see in the pictures is the result of about three months work. Pasteiner did a number of drawings on the computer for them and this is the one that they agreed was the best.
The first thing they did was strip the body completely off the frame. They then cut and extended the frame by seven inches. As you can see, very little of the original body is left. They used both 16- and 18-gauge steel to make the body parts they had to fabricate.
They started by removing the front and rear fender extensions. The front quarter panels were heavily modified to give them a sharper, more futuristic appearance. The top was taken off and the rear quarters smoothed and turned. An extension was put on the top of the rear gate to match the inward turning of the rear quarter panels.
They then began modifying the front rear fenders, boxing and extending the rears and sharpening the angles on the fronts. The doors were slightly modified and lengthened to account for the frame lengthening and stronger external strap hinges were installed. As you can see, both front and rear fenders were heavily modified as well. Finally, the windshield was chopped and heavily raked. The end result is something that would look at home on the set of Star Wars or the Mad Max movies.
LED Lighting Was Used All Around
Pasteiner acquired LED lighting from a variety of sources. After thinning the front portion of the roll bar, he inserted a high output LED strip along its top length. There are both LED headlights and foglights nestled into the front fascia of the front fenders. The rear fender boxes hold LED stop, tail and turn lights.
The SSUV Can Be Used as an Off-Road Rescue Vehicle
The air lift suspension that was installed under the SSUV has a full six inches of travel. There’s about 20 inches of ground clearance. Combine this with the 35-inch Mickey Thompson mud tires, and there aren’t very many places the SSUV can’t get in and out of. The ten ton front and two ton winches, both from WARN Winches, mounted front and rear respectively, mean the SSUV can help lesser off-road vehicles out of places they’ve gotten stuck. Or pull fallen hikers and climbers off dangerous cliffs.
Twenty-First Century Electronics Keep You Entertained and Safe
Pasteiner tells me that the view out the back of the SSUV was compromised by some of the body mods they did, so they had to think up a solution for that. They mounted a rear view camera in the back gate and put a rear view mirror video screen on the top of the dash center console. Under that is a seven inch touch screen that controls the entertainment and navigation systems, as well as the heating and air conditioning systems.
Yeah Man, It’s Got a Hemi
Jeep’s standard engine is pretty good for normal people to use, but when you’re building something awesome that Mad Max would drive, you need more. With this in mind, Pasteiner went to Chrysler and picked up a Police Interceptor Hemi engine that puts out 370 horses and 395 pound-feet of torque. Since they’re in Michigan, they had to have something to keep warm during the fall and winter months, so they retained the stock Jeep heater core in the only slightly-modified dash. Unique supplied the HVAC system ducting.
However, the front of the Jeep (fenders and hood) was so heavily modified that they couldn’t get the stock Jeep radiator into it. A custom dual core aluminum radiator was provided for them. A custom three-inch Borla exhaust vents the combustion gases through the stock Police Interceptor manifolds.
The steering column and brake system are all stock Jeep JK fare. And yes, I asked both Steve and Eric if any of the lights or panels slide or flip out of the way to expose either gas fire cannons or machine guns. Unfortunately, they said no.