This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, Apr 5, 2003
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By BILL WRIGHT
What is it? Without even pausing, I replied, a Lincoln Blackwood. I know that, she said, it says so right on the car. What I want to know, is, what is it supposed to be, fish, or fowl; truck, or SUV?
Right then I had to face the conundrum that had been in the back of my mind since I first drove the Blackwood (actually, since it was first introduced as a styling exercise some years ago). I remember discussing the Blackwood concept vehicle with people back then, and it was always in the vein of, nice styling exercise, but they wont ever build it. So, wasnt I surprised in 1999 when the curtain was drawn back at the press preview of the LA Auto Show, and Mark McGuire came driving out in the new production Blackwood. This was followed by some Lincoln PR type gushing that, Four people and four golf bags can ride in absolute luxury and comfort. That remark struck me as a little odd, but I didnt think much of it at the time.
Time went by and we never really paid much attention to the Blackwood, until we realized that Lincoln was going to kill it and Lincoln was offering massive rebates. All the while, Cadillac seemed to be selling at least an adequate number of their odd truck, the Escalade XLT. Thats when we decided that maybe we ought to take a look at this thing before its gone.
That four people can ride in luxury is pretty much undeniable, it is, after all, a Lincoln . The usual leather, wood trim, good sound system, and various bells and whistles are all present. But oddly, they really mean four people - that middle console in the back cannot be pushed out of the way to squeeze in a fifth. And as far as the golf bags getting a plush ride, take a look at the brushed aluminum trunk/bed with the padded floor and the recessed lighting. Whats up with that? This is definitely aimed at the urban cowboy market (Certainly aint gonna be no hay bails crashing down in that storage area).
So, that brings us back to the original question: What is it? It is big, and it is 4wd, so that leads one to believe that it must be some sort of SUV. Its not a pick-up truck, because as my compadre Roy points out, you cant remove the electrically-actuated hard tonneau cover, which severely limits what you can put in the trunk/bed. If we look at it as being a regular SUV, the picture doesnt get any clearer. It only seats four, and nine times out of ten, when you ask someone why they bought an SUV, they reply that they want to haul more people and more stuff. Well, you cant haul more people, and not too much stuff either.
Maybe we need to step back and look at this from a more philosophical or even existential perspective. Maybe the Blackwood is the perfect automotive expression for the excess of the Nineties. It was introd at the LA show in January of 1999, when the securities markets were at their hottest. There were outrageous stories in the press of how the Tech Generation was spending its money. If you carry this thought through, its not so unbelievable to imagine some designers sitting around and one of them says, think about it, four people and their golf bags cruising around Palm Springs in absolute luxury Oh, well, Im sure that, like the Aztek over at GM, the Blackwood has become one of those projects within Ford Motor Company where you have to dig really deep before you can get anyone to admit to having had anything to do with it.
The funny thing is, I kind of dig this vehicle. It looks good, it drives relatively okay for an SUV of its size, and its way different than most other Detroit iron. Granted, I wouldnt want to pay $55,000.00 for one, nor would I want to have to pay for putting gas into it on a regular basis. The Blackwood holds an odd sort of appeal for me, but not nearly enough to tempt me into wanting to own one.
Roy is probably right, the Blackwood will undoubtedly become some sort of collectable sometime in the future - kind of like the Edsel, only there wont be nearly as many Blackwoods floating around as there are Edsels.