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Plastics bring Toyota and SpongeBob together at SEMA

By: Don Loepp

November 5, 2013

Most of the concepts and limited edition cars being shown at this year's Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas boast of high performance and light weight carbon fiber composites that will help them go fast.

The 800-gallon fish tank installed within a 2014 Toyota Highlander, on the other hand, is not designed for speed.

Instead the "2014 SpongeBob Highlander: Tanked Edition" comes complete with a salt water fish tank created by Acrylic Tank Manufacturing Inc. — the Las Vegas-based company that is featured on the cable television's "Tanked" reality show on Animal Planet. The tank itself is stocked with 32 species of fish, including a clown fish, squirrelfish, Fiji foxface and starfish. (Toyota points out in its news release that one of the characters on TV's SpongeBob SquarePants is a starfish named Patrick. SpongeBob himself, along with his pineapple home, is represented solely as a non-animated toy.)

The tank begins behind the front two seats of the Highlander and stretches the length of the sports utility vehicle.

No word on whether the SpongeBob Highlander is still road legal, but Acrylic Tank Manufacturing points out that it does have a custom-built filtration system. In addition to appearing at SEMA, the project will be featured on an upcoming episode of "Tanked."

For those car fans whose taste runs toward a more traditional horsepower rather than fish power, SEMA will still have its usual display of limited edition muscle cars. General Motors Co. alone is showing off concept versions of the Corvette and Camaro, along with a concept pickup truck called the Silverado Cheyenne, which replaces a standard steel truck bed with carbon fiber inner box, tailgate and bumpers.

(... and thanks to Plastics News' Rhoda Miel for today's post).