Exclusive Comparison Test:
2002 Cadillac Escalade EXT versus
2002 Lincoln Blackwood (Part 1 of 2)
By: Michael Levine
Originally Posted: 08-31-01 22:00Last
Edited: 11-11-01 22:00
PickupTruck.com © 2001
  
had the exclusive opportunity to drive and compare the 2002 Cadillac Escalade
EXT and Lincoln Blackwood at the same time during the 2001 Pebble Beach
Concours d'Elegance and Monterey Historics in northern California. The
Concours and Historics are perhaps the most renowned celebrations of style
and engineering for vintage and luxury automobiles. Everything from rare,
early 20th century Bugattis to the most modern of Ferraris is displayed
or raced and we can't think of a better place to drive and compare an
entirely new breed of automobile as distinctly American as the luxury
pickup. The roots and heritage of both the Blackwood and EXT stretch as
far back as most of the cars on display at Pebble Beach.
a way it's ironic putting these two trucks head to head because both
indirectly sprang to life from the efforts of a single person, Henry
Leland. Leland is widely considered the "creator of both of America's
first quality cars," Cadillac and Lincoln. In 1902 Leland took
over Cadillac's operations to build it up and later sell it as the
premier luxury car brand to GM in 1908. Leland later started the Lincoln
Motor Company in 1917 to make engines for World War I fighter planes
and converted his engine factory to the production of "precision-made
automobiles" after the war ended. Lincoln struggled as a company
for the first several years and was eventually purchased by its current
parent, Ford Motor Company, in 1922 where it still remains Ford's
leading American luxury brand.
luxury cars used to be the gold standard against which all other automobiles
were measured, especially during the years immediately preceding World
War II and post war years through the mid-1960s. Lincoln and Cadillac
were seen as the leaders in design and engineering. Cars such as the Lincoln
K-Series, Continental, Continental Cabriolet and the entire 1948 Cadillac
lineup, which sported tailfins for the first time created by legendary
GM design chief Harley Earl, set the styling trends for decades. Architect
Frank Lloyd Wright considered the Lincoln Continental to be the most beautiful
car in the world after it entered production in 1939.
Blackwood and EXT among the country club set at the golf course.
technological innovations were second to none. It pioneered the world's
first independent front suspension, automatic transmission, air conditioning
and the short-stroke 'modern' V8 engine - standards that quickly found
their way into other luxury and passenger cars.
80s and 90s gave way to the slow decline and loss of market share of American
luxury and passenger cars. Japanese and European brands rule this segment
today emulating and bettering many of the innovations first found in Cadillacs
of American manufacturers has shifted away from cars to pickups and SUVs
because that's where the best products, profits and sales continue to
occur. So, as Cadillac and Lincoln struggle to maintain and justify their
existence they have turned to trucks as a unique way of defining American
luxury in today's competitive marketplace that the foreign manufacturers
just can't touch - yet. The Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade perfected
the luxury revolution in full-size SUVs and arguably they have been their
parent companies' saving grace because they bring newer, wealthier and
younger buyers to brands today known for catering to gerontological trends.
be seen as verification that the US economy peaked about two years back,
when both the Lincoln Blackwood and Cadillac EXT received the greenlight
for production, that these two luxury pickups are just now entering the
marketplace as many people now find the word 'layoffs' part of their everyday
vocabulary. The Blackwood and EXT are definitely not your average trucks
and it's doubtful they would have found their way to production if they
economy hadn't been so hot.
to their core essence, the Blackwood and EXT are the American dream realized.
New vehicles reinvented from old.
are the very automotive symbol of the American work ethic but the Blackwood
and EXT take this to a new level declaring to the world that their owners'
labors have paid off and they have been amply rewarded. The Blackwood
and EXT also state that their owner is not some old world aristocrat but
an American entrepreneur who made their wealth the hard way. Each truck
tells this American success story in its own unique way.
Cadillac expect to sell around 22,000 units total between the two fancy
haulers, 10,000 Blackwoods and 12,000 EXTs. At these numbers they will
account for less than 1% of annual pickup truck sales which number approximately
3,000,000 units per year. Priced around $50k each, truly they are the
pinnacle of pickups.
hills near the Monterey Peninsula provide the backdrop for this shot
as well as many of the events of the Monterey Historics and Concours
d' Elegance each year in Northern California.