Imagine for just a moment what your dream truck would be. Now imagine that an engineer from Lincoln is standing in front of you jotting down all the ideas that are the makeup of that dream truck. Seem a little unreal? A few years ago, it was happening in cities all over America.

The ’02 Lincoln Blackwood is a promise that Lincoln delivered on…American luxury. The design team at Lincoln was charged with building a hybrid truck—some might call it a pickup or SUV. The development stage included a swarm of engineers closely listening to drivers and developing a truck that delivered style and catered to 100 percent of their wildest dreams.

Although it shares styling cues with the existing Navigator, the Blackwood is a new design and concept in trucks from the ground up. From the get-go, Lincoln was out to design a luxury truck that could be used just as any other pickup and deliver the comfort and style Lincoln customers expect. This meant a full luxury package from the tires to the key fob. The Blackwood uses an integrated rigid frame for a solid foundation on which to build. An engineering challenge that had to be dealt with was how to give superior ride quality, aggressive performance, and functionality, all with minimal road noise. In essence it was solved by developing independent systems to tackle each obstacle. For starters, understand that all noise inside a cab is either generated by the cab itself or is transmitted from the road through suspension and frame components. Lincoln put a gap in noise and vibration transmission by developing micro-cellular urethane body mounts. The idea is that with this new material, most vibrations transmitted to the frame will stop and not traverse into the passenger cabin by way of the sheetmetal.

With road noise insulated by the bushings, next came handling. What most Lincoln customers didn’t like about trucks was that they drove and felt like a lumbering beast skipping across the pavement. The conclusion was that the Blackwood had to handle like a car. A new dual-stage steering system was developed to give a lot at low speeds and stiffen at freeway speeds. Using specially designed shocks in combination with specifically designed tires ensured the truck sticks to the ground. To improve on handling, the Blackwood has a near perfect 50/50-weight distribution. To accommodate load variances, the Blackwood uses air springs in combination with monoleaf springs. The concept is for the leaf springs to carry the weight of the vehicle while the air springs inflate/deflate to accommodate the specific load. The self-leveling air spring system is computer-controlled and ensures the same trim level no matter how much load is in or being towed by the Blackwood.

The Lincoln team also discovered that customers valued comfort highly. Blackwoods come with so much that only one thing is left as an option: Navigation system or no navigation system. The seats feature a climate controlled venting system. By way of perforated Connolly leather seating surfaces, the vent delivers cold or hot air, depending on climate. Interior sounds come by way of an Alpine-designed stereo featuring seven speakers, a six-disc CD changer, a tape deck, and 140 watts of power. The rear seating area is just as luxurious as the front and features separate stereo controls, a fold-down console, and adjustable A/C vents. With the combination of the interior details and the functional design of the controls, the Blackwood is just as posh as any luxury car.

Styling of the Blackwood is unique and built around functionality. The Front sheetmetal shares the same cues as the Navigator. The bedbox is an industry first in design and functionality. The tonneau cover has been integrated into the bedbox design to allow a push-button automated opener. With effortless ease, the tonneau raises for maximum access in loading. Double bed doors allow full access to the rear and feature nifty chrome and stainless steel accents. As the tonneau raises, the floor lighting comes on to reveal a full lined bed with rub rails all around and a detachable cargo carrier. The outside of the bedbox is a composite material covered in applique that matches the interior oak accents. For safety’s sake, the tonneau features sensors that will stop the closing of the tonneau to prevent squashing a person’s hand or an overload of gear.

Driving the Blackwood is relaxing. The combination of suspension and engine systems delivers quiet performance that rivals the best-built luxury imports. The 5.4L Intech V-8 powerplant produces a stout 300 hp and 355 lb-ft of torque. Funneling that power through the 4R100 tranny and onto the limited-slip traction rearend results in smooth acceleration and strong performance. Adding bite to the bark, the Blackwood has a tow capacity of 8,700 pounds and comes delivered with a class III/IV receiver hitch.

Lincoln has delivered on its promise…American luxury. While driving the Blackwood, it was easy to forget that it is a truck. The combination of a well designed chassis and a luxuriant interior has resulted in the only truck that drives like a dream, handles like a car, and feels more comfy than your favorite house slippers. With production numbers set at 10,000, you won’t see a Blackwood every day. And in case you’re curious, the Blackwood comes in any color you like as long as it’s black.