In his day, Henry Ford I liked to say you could order his cars in any color you chose—as long as it was black. Well, the folks behind the new Lincoln Blackwood have taken up that mantra, and that’s the only way you’ll be able to order this unusual luxo-mobile.
The Blackwood made its debut in concept car form at the 1999 Los Angeles Auto Show. It was the first public showcase for Ford Motor Co.’s then-new design chief, J Mays, who’d previously made his name on such projects as the Volkswagen Beetle and Audi TT.
The Blackwood seemed absolutely appropriate at the time. Light trucks, in general, were heading for record sales, and demand for large luxury SUVs, like the Lincoln Navigator, was soaring off the charts. The Blackwood also seemed attuned to the emerging crossover market, in this case blending attributes of a pickup, sport-ute and a luxury sedan. (More precisely, the front end of the Lincoln Navigator, the rear of a Ford F-150 pickup, and a new, sedan-style cabin.)
In relatively quick order, at least in automotive terms, Ford has put the Blackwood into production. To get a feel of how it has been transformed from concept to customer, we spent a couple days tooling down the California coast, braving 100-degree-plus heat one moment, drizzly skies and fog the next. It was the perfect opportunity to test the massive crossover vehicle and its many slick features—including seats that can be both heated and cooled, depending on the weather of the moment.
Despite the Blackwood’s cavernous interior, by the way, there are only four seats, each sumptuously upholstered. The Blackwood may have its roots in the working world, but this is a vehicle you’re far more likely to take to the opera than the horse farm.