How It All Started
It all started with a broken windshield.... In 2015 I went to a local dealership and bought a brand new Jeep Wrangler (Unlimited Rubicon). Even considering my love for Mustangs I had never been more excited about a new vehicle... after all this was my first new car. But it wasn't a car... it was a JEEP!
What I didn't realize until I had a Jeep was that I have been a Jeep guy all my life. As an outdoor enthusiast, advocate of a free life, honored by the freedom I've been privileged to, I soon came to realize that everything Jeep promotes, everything Jeep stands for - with a strong emphasis on Freedom! To me Jeep Freedom isn't just the ability to go anywhere off road, rock climb anywhere, get through any mud hole (which are awesome) but moreso about the free air, the top down, the doors off, the ability to take a Monday and turn it into a Great Day! This where the name "Exposed" (TM) came from as a brand name.
So imagine my dismay when I took the soft top off for the first time, loaded up my kayak, and quickly realized... The speakers were higher than the factory roll bar. And the second high point was the gasket on the front windshield! So when I lifted and loaded my 80 lb fishing kayak I slide it across the speakers, then the gasket on the front windshield, then flipped it over so the gunwales would rest on top of the Jeep. Naturally I didn't like it sitting on the gasket that seals out rain, nor the speakers that I just paid for on my new Jeep.
I tightened it down, but apparently not tight enough (as there was no place to really wrap a strap around. As I drove down the road the kayak slide back and the bubble in front (that holds fishing tackle) hit my windshield and... CRACK! I immediately earned my first set of stripes (as you are not a real Jeep owner until you crack your windshield :-)
After some research I quickly discovered that nobody had a solution. So I took it upon myself to figure something out. Under the soft top there is a 4 inch gap between the factory roll bar and the soft top cover. Using some of the old machines from SMS and a welder in my basement, I designed the first concept. It worked beautifully, fit under the soft top, but above the speakers and front windshield! Immediately I knew I had something unique.
The innovation didn't stop there. The immediate limitation was the width of the bar within the soft top frame. So I had another idea... to use push pins create kayak mounts (and other mounts) that literally click in and out of the bar with just a push pin. It's that easy! And seriously holds so much stronger than any other mounts. We have three Hobie Fishing Kayaks (80 lbs, 80 lbs, and 100 lbs) and they don't budge when on our racks. Accessories literally click in and out with a push pin, allowing users to close the top in seconds when not in use.
If you think about it... the day the sun is shining is the same day you want your top down AND to do all your activities. It's the same day! So I filed a patent for this unique function... appropriately named the brand and product line 'Exposed Racks' (TM), starting manufacturing parts under SMS Auto Parts Co. and the rest is history. In March of 2018 we officially launched Exposed Racks at the Meca of Jeep Offroading: Easter Jeep Safari in the Moab Desert, Utah.
Tried, Tested, and True these are by far the strongest racks on the market. The weight distributes down through the factory crossbars to the frame. Your only limit will be the vehicle's max weight. You can Carry Anything! (TM)
What was a problem, turned idea, then patent, prototype, and now company just keeps growing. We have the only crossbar or roof rack system in the world that has zero negative affect on the aerodynamics of a vehicle. If you think about it, the OE vehicle manufacturers spends Billions of dollars collectively on designing very efficient and aerodynamic vehicles. Then in eliminate all of that efficiency with traditionally clunky roof racks, crossbars, and especially kayak and bike mounts. With Exposed Racks 100% of the original vehicle aerodynamic efficiencies are preserved during the majority of the time the racks are not in use. Even with our hard top solution (the same crossbars re-mount on the hard tot with two brackets) the efficiency is gained using our patented quick clip system - no more dirving around with kayak and bike mounts hanging off your roof. In short, this is awesome! Please follow along with our progress on Instagram or Facebook @smsautopartsco as I rebuild SMS one brick at a time.
All of us at SMS are proud to say that not only are these parts Made in America, but Made in Pennsylvania. We have built our program to meet the needs or large scale distribution and we have a strong focus on our continued R&D program to add as many vehicles as possible to our list.
Stay Tuned.... we have a lot of new and amazing products coming that will help you really live every moment of your life to its fullest!
- George Schafer, Jr.
Founder, Exposed Racks
President, SMS Auto Parts Co.