DETROIT, Mich. - Like Jackie Gleason in the final scenes of the original Smokey and the Bandit, Lincoln is "not givin' up" on the truck market after its colossal market miscalculation with the ill-fated Blackwood pickup. The Lincoln Blackwood, you may recall, was essentially stillborn when it arrived for 2002 to battle the Cadillac Escalade EXT for luxury truck buyers. Problems with the Blackwood included a carpeted bed with a power tonneau cover that carried little more than the trunk of a Lincoln Town Car, ugly ash-colored fake wood on the sides of the bed, a dashboard design that didn't even start to disguise the truck's Ford F-150 basis, and the inexplicable rear-drive only powertrain layout. The Lincoln Blackwood spectacularly imploded, and the plug was pulled before dealers were able to move the first 1,000 units.
The 2006 Lincoln Mark LT should prove to be a much more palatable alternative to the giant Cadillac and the GMC Sierra Denali than the Blackwood did. As with Lincoln's first pickup truck effort, the 2006 Mark LT is based on the brand spankin' new Ford F-150 SuperCrew.
All this glitz rides on the SuperCrew's fully boxed, hydroformed frame with a double-wishbone front suspension and Hotchkiss-design rear suspension. As with the F-150, the Hotchkiss rear suspension allows the shocks to be placed at an angle outboard of the frame rails, better controlling body lean and allowing for softer ride tuning without compromising towing or payload ratings. Responsive rack-and-pinion steering and four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake force distribution come standard.
Further details will become available as the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT nears production, currently scheduled to begin during the first quarter of 2005. With its basis on the fine new Ford F-150 and offering far superior truck functionality, the Lincoln Mark LT will no doubt find the success that so dramatically eluded the now defunct Blackwood. But will it put the trucks from General Motors on the bench? Not without a more compelling feature than a glowing red Lincoln logo on the grille it won't.
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company