created own niche
14 September, 1999 – The Lincoln Blackwood concept vehicle, making
its first European appearance at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show, is
the result of a brand combining detailed knowledge of its customers
with non-traditional thinking to create a brand new product niche.
Inspired by the runaway success of its Navigator sport utility
vehicle, Lincoln decided to further explore the idea of combining
the comfort of an American luxury sedan with the versatility of a
sport utility vehicle. The outcome was the Lincoln Blackwood, the
`ultimate utility vehicle.’
The four-door, four-passenger Blackwood debuted in December 1998 at
the Los Angeles Auto Show. Response to the wood-clad luxury utility
vehicle was so strong Ford has decided to put it into production.
“The popularity of the Lincoln Navigator and the continuing
evolution of American sport utility vehicles led to the development
of this luxury utility concept,” said J Mays, Ford Vice President of
Design. “Our ability to take this concept quickly to market after
the overwhelmingly positive public response to it shows how flexible
our product development process has become.”
The Lincoln Blackwood’s appearance at Frankfurt is for more than
novelty value. According to Mays, the processes that led to its
successful development are being used by Ford Motor Company on a
global basis to extend the character of its brands and could result
in even more concepts that create their own niches in future.
Powered by a 5.4-litre V8 engine and riding on 19-inch solid-cast
polished aluminium wheels and P286R60-19 tires, Lincoln Blackwood
has a truly unique appearance. At the rear of the four door cabin
is a fully enclosed pickup bed covered with more than 6 square
meters of wenge, a dark, dense striated wood from central Africa.
A brushed aluminium strip defines each band of wood, adding to the
overall luxury look. The use of the wood is designed as a modern
twist on traditional American `woody,’ which used different-coloured
wood strips between larger wood bands, according to Mays.
The wenge wood is sealed with a clear epoxy to protect it from the
elements and highlight the natural beauty of the grain. The
combination of the rich, dark-coloured wood and black,
lacquer-finished sheet metal was the inspiration for the Blackwood’s
The hard top of the rear pick-up bed opens hydraulically to a
45-degree angle, operated by the key fob. Once the cover is lifted,
the rear double-door gate can be opened to the sides – giving access
to the well-lit, aluminium-finished interior of the 1422mm trunk.
Two adjacent compartments serve as additional storage space for
Blackwood’s interior is based on the Lincoln Navigator’s, with the
addition of wenge wood accents on the steering wheel and instrument
panel. A global positioning system is integrated into the
floor-mounted centre console. The four bucket seats are trimmed in
black Connolly leather.
A version of this uniquely American luxury vehicle concept will go
into production at Ford Motor Company’s Kansas City Assembly Plant
late next year.