This year’s Road to AAPEX is a tale of two roads: One metaphorical, paved with questions that face the automotive aftermarket like the impact of EV adoption and sustainability efforts; and one quite literal, that was paved at the start of the 20th century and conceptualized the first transcontinental highway. The Lincoln Highway, which begins in Times Square, New York City, and stretches to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, was the first designed with automobiles in mind.
Today, it’s the route for Babcox Media’s Joe Keene, an ASE-certified technician, who is charged with fixing a rare 2002 Lincoln Blackwood—one of the rarest models that the manufacturer produced. Designed to combine the utility of a truck-based vehicle with the comfort of a sedan, the Blackwood sported a unique rear cargo bed designed as a watertight trunk with a permanently mounted, power-operated tonneau cover. The exterior of the cargo bed was styled with imitation Black African Wenge wood with aluminum striated inlays. It was powered by an Intech four-valve, 5.4-liter V8, producing 300 horsepower, borrowed from the Lincoln Navigator, and mated with a four-speed automatic transmission.
At least this is how it debuted more than 20 years ago. Keene’s Blackwood sports a glowing check engine light, dry-rotted tires, front-end issues that give the truck the shakes, and a transmission that feels like it’s going to fall out of the frame.
Watch the video below for a look at the crossroads of where the automotive industry has been and where it’s going.
This episode of Road to AAPEX is presented by Motorcar Parts of America.