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Car (Truck) Disgust: 2002 Lincoln Blackwood

Blackwood frontWe here at Car Lust haven't done a "Car Disgust" post in a while. That's because these posts are usually reserved for the most vile aberrations of automotive expression, the lowest of the low, cars that either have the soul of the devil, or maybe no soul at all.

Car Disgust also includes vehicles so poorly designed or rebadged that the public takes one look, and either laughs histerically, runs away from them, or shrieks in terror en masse. Or worse, we aren't affected at all.

And I think we have one here today folks, that fits many of the requirements of true Car Truck Disgust.

Blackwood rear greatSo if I may, to get this post rolling, a little history first. At about the turn of the 21st century, the "Bling" movement was coming into vogue. Some requirements to be in this crowd were that your vehicle had to have huge-diameter (Dubs or larger) shiny wheels that attracted both attention and thieves, tons of chrome and/or gold trim, and all passengers were customarily attired in white wife beaters, excessive jewelry, and droopy trousers. The automotive term "grilles" took on a whole new meaning as well.

To cash in on some of this blingness, Lincoln took one look at this trend, took their F-150 pickup, and tried to turn it into an instant "Blingmobile." But despite a blingafied effort, I think their attempt of puttin' da 'Wood in da 'hood was epic fail.

Apparently, so did others. Sales were dismal; after 15 months of production and even more time languishing around dealers' lots, Lincoln only got 3,356 Blackwoods into the hands of... well, whoever bought them. At least 10,000 of these were expected to roll the first year alone; there was no second-year Blackwood.

Blackwood 1And like the F-150 "Nite" of a decade before, you could have the Blackwood in any color you wanted... as long as it was black. Stylewise, the Blackwood used the Lincoln Navigator front fenders, hood, grille, and other bits. This was easy enough, as the Navigator and the F-150-based Expedition were kissing cousins already.

Most of Lincoln's attention and efforts transforming the truck into a glitzy luxoride were put into its bed. Sup with that? Yes, we all need a stainless steel bed interior, carpeted floor, a power-raised tonneau cover, a dutch door tailgate, plus exterior stainless steel trim over fake wood.  Plenty of baggage blingage there. But is it me, or does this truck just look a little "squatty"? And I guess if I had spent $52,500 on a truck, it would only cruise the city, and I would not be hauling hay bales, chickens, or cinder blocks in it either.

Blackwood-whittier-ca_38169_1826_16However, I do like the Lincoln's taillight treatment better than what FoMoCo did on the Super Crew. Mine have somewhat curved lenses taken from Ford's Styleside bed, and I'm not sure why. I think the vertical lenses hold up to the test of time better than the curved, and if a Blackwood bed becomes available to me, I'd like to have it. Not for the gizmos and trim, but rather for the taillights.

Despite the Blackwood's enormous dimensions, it was just a 4-seater. The F-150 King Ranch donated its rear bucket seats and console, and the front captain's chairs were heated and cooled. Naturally, black leather swathed all four thrones.

Cruising the Blackwood down the boulevard was a 5.4-litre V-8 with SVT Cobra heads. And a 4-speed automatic was the only choice, as was rear drive. Lincoln said you could pull 8700 pounds of blingy (Or non-blingy) stuff with it as well.

Cadillac-Escalade_EXT_mp14_pic_29579Lincoln's main competition was the Cadillac Escalade ETX, which helped spawn the term "Blingalade." Motor Trend compared them both and more or less declared a draw, as each had desireable features that the other did not.

Maybe the main difference between the two was that the Caddy had a unique open cab/bed, continued from the Chevy Avalanche. It also came as a 4x4 exclusively, unlike the Blackwood.

I guess I might have a little special interest with these Lincolns. In 2002, while the Blackwood was offered for sale, I researched, ordered, and bought a 2003 Ford F-150 Super Crew. My truck has the same frame, basic powertrain, and cab sheet metal as this Lincoln; the interior is very familiar to both as well. And the Super Crew was also built in the same Missouri plant as all Blackwoods.

But... and here's the big but... my truck cost about half of what the Lincoln did after discounts and rebates. Was a blingalicious Blackwood worth twice as much as a loaded Super Crew? Maybe so, if your record just sold 10 million copies, or if you needed something glitzy for your latest video. But for the rest of us... well, decide for yourself. I can go anywhere in a Ford truck and not be noticed... pull up in this thing, and be prepared for lengthy explanations of just what the heck a Lincoln pickup truck is.

Blackwood F 150 Dashes

The Blackwood's dash was pretty much a carryover from the F-150 as well. That's my Super Crew panel on the left (With an aftermarket wood grain kit, and yes, my floormats have floormats). Except for more buttons on the steering wheel, automatic HVAC, a relocated clock (Mine has a clock display added into the radio), and a tiny, optional map/screen navigation display on the console, there really isn't much difference.

BlackwoodLincoln_Mark_LT_long_bedAnd as if they hadn't learned their lesson, Lincoln moseyed back into pickup truck production in 2006 with the Mark LT, once again basing their pickup on Ford's F-150. The LT was sold for three years here in the United States, then replaced with the Ford F-150 "Platinum" trim, because they never met sales expectations either.

But the somewhat stylized Mark LT is still not only sold in Mexico to this day, it's also Lincoln's best seller there. And per that link, that's fine by me.

So the Lincoln Blackwood is a pickup that's useless as a pickup but can't be defined as a car. And after two monumental fails, hopefully The Lincoln Motor Company is out of the pickup truck business forever, and can continue to focus on building cars with stylized wings as grilles and funny sliding roofs.

Blackwood golf cartIf you want a blingmobile pickup, why not get one like this stylized golf cart? It even looks like the Blackwood. I tell ya, if there ever had been a Caddyshack III, I could see Al Czervik rolling up in this. (♫We're in the money! We're in the money!♫)

So I guess all I can really say about the Blackwood is that I really wish they hadn't built it. From the poor sales numbers, I'll bet Lincoln is thinking the same thing. And I'm also kind of glad that the "Bling" thing is about over as well.

Will it be a future collectable though? Probably!

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credits: The Blackwood front view is from MotorsTown.com.  The rear shot of the truck was found at CarsInAmerica.net. The open tailgate view of the Blackwood is also from MotorsTown.com. The Blackwood rear seats image came from CarImages1.com. The Escalade ETX image was found at CarsBase.com. I matched the pic of the F-150 dash to the Blackwood panel (From MotorsTown.com.) as best I could. The picture of the Lincoln Mark LT is from Wikipedia.org. The blingworthy golf cart image is from UrbanDictionary.com. The gold borders around the images was my attempt at some blingatude.

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The pinstripes on the bed that don't continue on to the cab side--it just looks clunky as hell.

The taillights on those (and the earlier Navigators) look like they were lifted intact from the Wagon Queen Family Truckster from Vacation (you think you hate it now... wait till ya drive it!)

I kinds-sorta like it.
Ford tried to reach a new...and possibly non-existant...market.
With parts sharing with the F-150, their R&D costs had to be about $20,000...so no harm no foul.

Besides, compared with the silly Cadillac SUV's pie plate-sized emblem on the back, the Blackwood was tasteful.

It's kinda like a Yugo GV. It's really awful, but really interesting at the same time.

I still feel that it (and many of it's short-bed/double-cab brethren) looks awkwardly proportioned. I did back in middle-school, still do today. Though the pinstriping and use of other materials was interesting...

Do you think these stood a better chance if it wasn't released on the final days of the first-gen Navigator/Expedition and tenth-gen F-150 platform?
Keep in mind that it's first-gen Navigator looks date back to the 1998 model year. It looked outdated from the start, especially compared to a "knife-edge styling" Escalade!

From Tigerstrypes: "Do you think these stood a better chance if it wasn't released on the final days of the first-gen Navigator/Expedition and tenth-gen F-150 platform?"

Well, the Lincoln Mark LT that followed was also a failure here in the USA. So I guess we just weren't ready for $50,000+ luxo trucks, at least from Ford. I'm not sure that we are today either.

I sort of like it in an oblique way. When the Navigator first came out, it seemed like Lincoln caught Cadillac off guard, and the response from GM was the Escalade. Either way, each is a luxury tank. Just plain too big, with horrible mileage as well. One big problem with the Blackwood, as another poster mentioned, the bed is too short, but this is clearly not meant for cargo hauling. Most of all, it shows that not every vehicle is a hit.

The only way they could've made it worse/uglier is by making it a stepside.

@Yankee, that's exactly right, except that the ones on the Wagon Queen look better! :-)

I would be the most totally bad-@ss muthaaaaaaaaa archaeologist in the world showing up to the site in one of those.

I think you might get stuck Anthony, Rear drive only.
That's so absurd on a full size truck.

The year the Blackwood was introduced, people crowded around its display at the Philly Auto Show and they were all oohing and aahing. If you think about it, the Blackwood is a perfect auto show turntable vehicle. That brushed metal and mood lighting just looks cool, and dazzles the viewer so much they forget how spectacularly useless this "truck" will be at Home Depot.

In the meantime, on the other side of the hall at the aforesaid 2002 Philly Auto Show, the Cadillac guys were frantically comparison-selling the Escalade EXT against the Blackwood to a smaller crowd of onlookers. And I do mean frantically; the fear was palpable. Based on that evening, you would have expected the Blackwood to be the luxury truck hit of the decade.

I know this is absurd, but I always rather liked the Blackwood. My dream garage would have as pristine a Blackwood as I could find, and a new Raptor side by side, both with the quad cab. Talk about 2 extremes. The most interesting part is, you can buy a fully optioned Raptor today for what the Blackwood cost back then, and it is certainly more capable and almost as luxurious.

I'd like to know how much a Blackwood is worth today. They are probably at their bottom value, and might start appreciating since so few were made.

There might even be some gold jewelry in there, fallen between the seats.

I actually did a search on cars.com but, probably not surprisingly, there were none within 100 miles of me.

I can kind of see why they wouldn't make a 4WD version, assuming that virtually no one would ever take it to anywhere resembling off-road. I mean, how many Escalades ever do anything remotely requiring 4WD? But then, I suppose that's primarily a part of the marketing anyway. But yeah, that kind of botches it as a field vehicle, as cool as showing up at a job site with a neon bed would be.

OTOH, I've been kind of hankerin' for a blinged out Escalade for fieldwork anyway. . . .

I think they could have added the supercharger from the Harley-Davidson F-150, since it would have bolted right on anyway.

Then of course, you still can...

I work for a Ford dealer, on the back (mechanic's) counter. Good luck getting parts for a Blackwood. There was one in the shop a few years ago, needed rear springs. They;re obsolete, and NO ONE had any in stock..and they don't fit an f150, they're different. We had to source a couple from a junkyard. Forget trim pieces, they're unobtainium.

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