We can't tell you how many times we've each been asked about concept cars, "Why can't I buy one of those?" Well you can. Not often, mind you, and not cheaply. But every once in a while, one of those glitzy concepts you see on a show stand comes up for sale. And now, it's time to grab your checkbooks.

The show car (or truck, to be precise) you see here was the centerpiece of the Ford display at the 2001 Chicago Auto Show. Dubbed the F-150 Lightning Rod, it takes the formula employed by the SVT Lightning to a more stylized extent, with a chopped roofline and raked windshield, flush-fitted neon head- and tail-lights, and a minimalist interior. The whole package is finished in metallic red with a tribal tattoo motif. A 5.4-liter SOHC V8 sat under the hood, mated to a four-speed automatic. The 21-inch aluminum wheels wear tires whose tread is cut to match the tattoo pattern.

This unique concept truck is expected to fetch around $50,000 when it crosses the block at the RM Auctions event in Arizona next week, but while it's in proper running condition, it isn't certified to drive on public streets. Check it out the listing after the jump and browse the attached photo gallery.
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Lot 152 - 2001 Ford F-150 Lightning Rod Concept

$40,000-$60,000 US
5.4-liter SOHC V-8 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic power disc brakes. Wheelbase: 119.8"

• 1960s hot rodding with a twist
• Maori tattoo theme throughout
• Unique concept of the popular F-150

The Ford F-Series trucks have been sold continuously for over six decades, the most popular variant being the F-150. So popular was this truck, in fact, that it was the best-selling vehicle in the United States for 24 years as well as the best-selling truck for nearly 35 years. Based on the eighth generation F-150 Ford pickup, the Lightning Rod concept evokes, in the words of the manufacturer, the "passion of muscle cars of the 1960s, the hot rod industry and the current body art craze."

Lowered and stretched, the Lightning Rod was given a one-inch chop to its roofline, a raked windshield and hidden wipers. Twin horizontal neon headlamps flank a recessed aluminum grille. The horizontal light theme carries through to the taillights, which are also neon tubes. Cherry red metallic paint gives it a sleek, hot rod look.

A leather-wrapped tonneau cover is die-cut with a traditional tattoo of the native New Zealand Maori tribe. Moko, a specific type of Maori tattoo, features shallow, colored grooves in complex curvilinear patterns, originally produced by striking a miniature bone adze into a person's skin. In some native cultures, tattoos are thought to ward off sickness or misfortune; others use them to signify the wearer's rank or status. An elegantly-tattooed face was frequently a great source of pride for the warrior. The Maori theme carries through to the leather bucket seats and headliner. Twenty-inch, five-spoke cast aluminum wheels carry radial tires with a tread pattern matching the tonneau cover tattoo.

This vehicle runs and drives but is not DOT or EPA certified. It cannot be registered for highway use in the United States and is offered on bill of sale only.

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