From concept to production: Lincoln Blackwood returns to the Motor City
IRVINE, Calif., January 8, 2001 – The Lincoln Blackwood, an auto show concept vehicle brought to life for the 2002 model year, made its triumphant return to Detroit as the featured vehicle in Lincoln’s line-up at the 2001 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) today.
First shown as a concept vehicle at the 1999 NAIAS, the Lincoln Blackwood will be available in dealerships in the first half of 2001. It is like no other vehicle on the road today. Blackwood wraps four passengers in an indulgent, luxurious cabin trimmed in black leather and wood. The exterior marries the dramatic presence of a deep-gloss black Lincoln Navigator with a unique and distinctive box-like trunk with a power-operated tonneau cover.
“We were so pleased by the public’s enthusiasm for the concept Lincoln Blackwood we knew we had to build it,” said Mark Hutchins, president of Lincoln Mercury. “The Blackwood delivers all of the emotional ‘got to have it’ appeal of the concept, and we’ll keep production limited to enhance its exclusivity and collectibles.”
Jim Rogers, Lincoln Mercury general marketing manager, added, “The Lincoln Blackwood is American Luxury because it breaks all the rules about luxury vehicles. It completely erases the lines between luxury cars, SUVs and pickup trucks. Probably the best way to describe Blackwood is fun to drive and fun to be seen driving.”
The Lincoln Blackwood shares strong design DNA with the Lincoln Navigator, particularly in its front section. Complex-reflector headlamps, fog lamps and taillights stand out against the deep black paint, as do the chromed door handles, side mirrors and fuel-filler door.
The Lincoln star insignia decorates the rocker moldings and the bright grille, as well as the tonneau’s center latch cover. To contribute to Blackwood’s sleek appearance, the radio antenna is concealed in the rear window glass, and the grille is integral to the hood.
The exotic, heavily striated African Wenge wood of the show vehicle’s box is interpreted for production in a three-dimensional composite surface for better durability, maintenance and insurability than wood. The photo laminate process used to create the panels accurately records the image of wood bands, each of which is defined by a brushed metallic stripe. The interior of the trunk is trimmed with brushed stainless steel and accented with LED light strips. The Dutch-style rear doors bear the Blackwood name in widely spaced, chrome capital letters.
Blackwood is connected with the road surface by 18-inch bright-machined aluminum wheels and low-profile, black sidewall P275/55-R18 All-Season Michelin tires. The result is a stance designed to meld rugged confidence and elegance.
The Lincoln Blackwood’s 27.5 cubic foot trunk is unique inside and out. Side-hinged Dutch doors and a hard tonneau cover that opens at the push of a button either from the key fob, interior overhead console or through a code on the driver’s door keypad allow easy access to the stainless steel-lined trunk.
The tonneau is equipped with pinch protection and safety sensors that reverse the electric motor if an obstruction is detected. A power pull-down mechanism ensures secure latching. A manual override is housed within the rear passenger wheel housing.
Inside the trunk, the junctions between the side walls and the cargo floor are accented by two cool-to-the-touch LED light strips. Flush tie-down rings help secure larger items. Storage bins are built into the interior sides, and additional open bins are built into each Dutch door.
The Lincoln Blackwood offers comprehensive comfort and convenience features for both the driver and passengers. In fact, the only optional luxury feature is a console-integrated satellite-based navigation system.
Interior highlights include dark-stained wood trim, black perforated leather-faced seats that offer a wide range of heating and cooling settings for the driver and front seat passenger, power adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, a tilt steering column with duplicate stereo and climate control buttons, seven-speaker Alpine® audio system with subwoofer and six-CD changer, automatic climate control and auto-shutoff headlamps. The climate-controlled seats circulate heated or cooled air through the perforated leather using a dedicated fan and compact heat pump.
Blackwood’s four low-back bucket seats are packaged in a space large enough for six adults, so each occupant is afforded exceptional hip and shoulder room. Both driver and passenger seats are power adjustable, with extended power lumbar support. The front seats, mirrors and adjustable pedals have a memory feature, to record two drivers’ preferences.
The front seats and rear seats are each separated by full-size consoles with hinged, leather-clad lids and deep molded-in cupholders. There are a total of four 12-volt power points: one on the instrument panel (in addition to a cigar lighter), two in the rear passenger area and one in the trunk.
An overhead console offers an electronic display including a compass, distance to empty and average fuel economy readings. The Homelink System™, located on the driver’s sun visor, controls up to three remote-control devices, such as garage door openers. Controls on the console operate the power moon roof and the power tonneau cover.
An obstacle-detecting Reverse Sensing System is activated when reverse gear is selected.
The Lincoln Blackwood is designed to offer superb handling and a smooth, quiet and controlled ride over a wide range of road surfaces. The suspension geometry was carefully engineered to reduce body lean during maneuvers. Tuned spring rates and a front stabilizer bar help maintain a level ride.
“The Lincoln Blackwood has the balance and composure to be engaging when the driver wants to be entertained, but it’s also comfortable, quiet and unobtrusive for cruising,” said Al Kammerer, director of Lincoln Vehicles. “We think customers will be pleasantly surprised by how well it rides and handles.”
The independent short- and long-arm front suspension uses coil springs and shock absorbers with variable-rate damping. The rear suspension uses a hybrid of leaf and air springs that virtually eliminates the abrupt spring rate transitions common to conventional truck leaf spring designs. Blackwood’s relatively lightweight single parabolic leaf spring is designed to handle the weight of the unloaded vehicle. As passengers or cargo are added, the extra load is taken up by the air spring. Air pressure in the springs, which are shaped like a flexible vertical cylinder, adjust automatically to maintain ride height.
The rear shocks are staggered, for better control of the solid axle. Like the front shocks, they are variable-rate, which means they can generate a soft, plush ride over small bumps and irregular pavement, yet provide enough firm damping to absorb large bumps. Over the most severe bumps, new micro-cellular urethane jounce bumpers provide a more progressive halt to axle travel than solid rubber bumpers, to eliminate jarring. Anti-windup bars attached to the rear axle help to prevent wheel hop and improve traction on wet or loose surfaces.
The recirculating ball steering system uses a new variable assist power steering control. In low-speed situations, such as parallel parking, it provides more power assist to reduce steering effort. At higher speeds, power assist is reduced to contribute to a tighter, more precise steering feel. The 18-inch Michelin radial tires make a major contribution to the Blackwood’s ride.
The Lincoln Blackwood’s 5.4-liter, 32-valve dual overhead cam V-8 engine produces 300horsepower at 5,000 rpm, and 355 foot-pounds of peak torque at 2,750 rpm. It has aluminum heads and a 90-degree, deep-skirted cast-iron block. Sequential multi-port injectors deliver fuel to the cylinders through a tumble-port cylinder head configuration, which enhances power and fuel efficiency.
Blackwood’s engine is rated for 100,000 miles before the first tune-up, with regular fluid and filter changes. It features fail-safe engine protection, which is designed to minimize engine damage in the event of a catastrophic coolant loss, such as might arise from a punctured radiator.
If the engine controller detects overheating, it shuts off fuel to alternating banks of cylinders, which allows cool air to pump through the cylinder bores. In this fail-safe mode, the vehicle can be driven a short distance under reduced power, depending on speed, load and outside temperature.
The engine is mated to a 4R100-model four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and a locking torque converter. A 3.73final drive ratio and a built-in Class III/IV hitch contribute to Blackwood’s muscular tow rating of 8,700 pounds.
To enhance traction under acceleration, Blackwood uses an engine management system that senses any rear wheel slip and manages torque delivery to restore traction. The system also is capable of detecting when the vehicle is attempting to accelerate on a loose, or deformable surface such as snow or sand. On these surfaces, the system allows the vehicle to power out of the situation. In cases where only one driving wheel is on a slippery surface, the limited slip differential automatically transfers torque to the other wheel.
Safety and Security
The Lincoln Blackwood’s standard safety features include second-generation front air bags, seat-mounted side air bags for driver and front seat passenger, height-adjustable front shoulder belts with pretensioners and energy management system, childproof door locks and child seat tether capability for the rear seats. Blackwood also features the BeltMinder™ system, which sounds a chime and flashes a red warning light on the dashboard as a gentle reminder to the driver to buckle up.
To enhance visibility, the side mirrors have built in turn signal repeaters, as well as approach lamps that activate when the vehicle is unlocked using the keyfob. Blackwood has three-channel, four-wheel ABS disc braking, which enhances driver control by preventing wheel lockup under heavy braking, even on ice- or rain-slick pavement.
Like all Lincoln vehicles, Blackwood is fitted with the SecuriLock™ passive anti-theft system that requires the use of a coded ignition key to start the vehicle. A perimeter alarm also is included in the system. A valet feature allows the driver to disable the release buttons for the tonneau cover on the overhead console. A touch pad fitted to the driver’s door allows for keyless entry. A phosphorescent emergency release handle is fitted to the inside of the trunk.
The Lincoln Blackwood struck an immediate chord with consumers when it was revealed as a show car. Consumer demand has helped to drive the vehicle into production.
“Since the concept Lincoln Blackwood was unveiled, we have talked to many consumers in person and over the Internet,” said Brand Manager Lisa Bacus. “Uniformly, the prospective customers who have a strong attraction to the Blackwood tend to own other luxury vehicles as well as sports cars, sports sedans, high-end trucks and SUVs. Most are looking for an exclusive vehicle that makes a unique statement and satisfies their transportation needs both for work and to support an active lifestyle.”
Blackwood will be built in Claycomo, Mo., near Kansas City. Production will be limited to fewer than 10,000 per year. Pricing will be announced at a later date. Like all Lincolns, Blackwood will be covered by a four-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. Lincoln also provides complimentary scheduled maintenance, including oil changes and tire rotation, for the first three years or 36,000 miles of ownership.