Trucks & SUVs

Worst Car Wednesday: 2002 Lincoln Blackwood Flopped Good

In the late-1990s and early-2000s, Ford was swinging long and tall with everything F150. Actually, it still is today. But then it was into trying to branch out a bit to see what the market would like. A larger SUV? Let’s do a Ford Expedition. How about a Lincoln SUV? OK, let’s do a Lincoln Navigator. Then in the early-2000s, Lincoln decided an upscale pickup with a bed that was more like a finely trimmed trunk might be a ripe new pickup category. And with that, the Lincoln Blackwood was born. And almost just as quickly was killed. For this week’s Worst Car Wednesday we present the 2002 Lincoln Blackwood-the Blackwood that flopped good.

A luxury pickup made a lot of sense. In fact, a lot of high-end features of the Blackwood are almost expected in higher-trimmed pickups today. And the margins are always so much higher for tarted up Fords. But Lincoln surmised that any buyer interested in a luxury pickup would like a really nicely trimmed bed.

You could almost see the Blackwood’s stainless scratching and carpet spotting the first time it got used

So the Blackwood featured a stainless steel-trimmed bed with carpeting. It really was great looking. But you could almost see the stainless scratching and carpet spotting after the first time it got used. Taking home dry cleaning would be a perfect use, but hauling firewood or chain link? No. Of course, black leather flowed inside, but only black. That was one of Blackwood’s main problems; a lack of choices.

Another feature that was a nice touch was the powered tonneau cover. Convenient, easy on the back, and practical. But only for the most delicate of hauling. Even a Christmas tree would scarf up those polished sides, with pine needles jammed into the carpet forever.

Fine aluminum strips separating gray burled wood lined the surfaces of the Blackwood’s bed skins and tailgate

Because the bed was so deluxe on the inside it needed some pizazz on the exterior, too. For that, Lincoln went Superleggera. Fine aluminum strips separating gray burled wood buried in clear-lined the surfaces of the bed skins and tailgate. None of it carried onto the body but instead was contained to the bed. 

Production of the wood and aluminum trim bed was handled by an outside supplier that had production issues. The Blackwood’s delivery schedule was postponed until the bed supply problems could be sorted out. Rumor has it Ford took this out on the company by freezing 2001 contracts for a time. 

The Blackwood only came in black, only as a crew-cab, and only with two-wheel-drive. In fact, the only option was a navigation system with a five-inch screen. With Lincoln coming from a history of lots of colors, interior materials, and chrome bits; it was uncharacteristic to have such a limited palette. It resulted in limited Lincoln Blackwood sales. 

Do you get the impression the reviewers didn’t care for the Blackwood?

Autoblog honored the Blackwood as one of “The Dumbest Cars Of All Time.” It said, “The Blackwood was one of those vanity projects hatched at the top.” Car and Driver called it one of the worst flops of the past 25 years. Jalopnik listed the Blackwood as one of the “Ten Cars That Should Have Never Left the Factory.” Do you get the impression the reviewers didn’t care for the Blackwood?

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There was one other version of the Blackwood. A special, limited Neiman Marcus Edition Blackwood was made for its 2001 spring catalog. Only 50 were made. They featured the NM logo stitched into the headrests, a leather-wrapped rear-console lid, and a seven-inch LCD DVD/video/CD player with wireless headphones. We don’t know how long it took Neiman Marcus to unload their Blackwoods.

It took Lincoln slashing prices to dump the 3,356 units it overproduced. It hoped to sell an estimated 18,000. It was such a slug out of the gate Lincoln canceled the Blackwood before 2002 was over. That alone makes it a top selection for Worst Car Wednesday.