Nobody needs a $52,500 pickup -- especially one that doesn't offer four-wheel drive, comes with a smallish bed, and is only available in one color: gunslinger black. It could also be said that nobody needs a $10,000 wristwatch. But a ton of people buy them. Because they want them. And because they can. That's all that counts.
Lincoln's new Blackwood lux truck isn't about needs either. It, too, is about wants. Because of that, it falls into the quirky, limited-edition big-dollar purchase zone that isn't about tow ratings, cargo capacity, or price/value ratio. Only 10,000 Blackwoods will be built this year, and we expect they'll go to cattle moguls in Oklahoma, big-oil dudes in Texas (or Washington), and a certain number of professional athletes. And you're not likely to see their carpet-and-stainless-steel beds loaded with cow manure or oil-rigging equipment. Obviously, the Blackwood is about conspicuous consumption.
Like any Viper driver will tell you, too conspicuous can be a hassle. While making our 50-mile run to the office, we try to attract as little attention as possible in press vehicles so we can cruise a bit faster.
However, this high-profile Lincoln forced a leisurely pace. At times, it seemed the only truck that might get more attention was the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. Pickups collected around us like iron filings to a bar magnet. It was all smiles and thumbs-up. People love this rig and the prominent profile it cut in traffic.
Beyond its celebrity status, we do have some objective observations after living with the Blackwood on the street and running it through our track tests. Perhaps it's because we've been spoiled by the lusty Lightning pickup and its supercharged engine, but we weren't exactly blown away by the Blackwood's DOHC 5.4L V-8. Rated by Lincoln to tug an 8700-lb trailer, this fuel-thirsty 300-hp engine moves the hefty 5700-lb truck smoothly and quietly, though not as energetically as we expected. The 'Wood motored to 60 mph in a respectable 8.5 sec and went through the quarter mile in 16.2 at 84.2 mph. Not bad, certainly. But a 1500 Chevy Silverado LS with extended cab and 5.3L OHV V-8 (retailing for $27,721) makes the same dash in 8.2 sec and handles the quarter mile in 16.2 at 84.4 mph. Perhaps the Ford engineers will need to make an underhood tweak or two for premium truck duty.
Although traction control is standard, no four-wheeling system is available. That sounds like a potential tradeoff to us. Working exclusively with the two-wheel-drive platform, and its lower ride height, provides some nice advantages in aesthetics, control, and civility. The Blackwood is a pleasure to pilot through traffic (when gawkers made room!), even though the truck's showing on our high-speed-handling test indicated just slightly above-average grip.