LOS ANGELES - Crammed with sporty cars and big trucks, the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show said goodbye to its usual environmental theme this year.
Lincoln made the biggest truck splash with the Blackwood.
Pushing Lincoln into new territory, the Blackwood gives to pickups what the Lincoln Navigator gives to sport-utilities - more luxury, more leather, more everything.
The Blackwood mates the front of a Navigator with the enclosed bed of a lowered Ford F-series 4x2 pickup behind the second row of passenger seats.
The vehicle is powered by a 5.4-liter V-8 and rides on 19-inch wheels.
Lincoln calls it a 'luxury utility vehicle.' More than 20 square feet of Wenge wood from central Africa, separated by thin strips of aluminum, adorns the vehicle.
The hard top of the enclosed bed (4 feet 8 inches square) opens hydraulically to a 45-degree angle and has two compartments for smaller objects.
The Blackwood's interior continues the Wenge wood theme and includes four Connolly leather seats and a global positioning satellite system.
J Mays, Ford Motor Co.'s vice president of design, said a production version of the Blackwood could be ready in two or three years.
Other trucks adding size and doors were the Nissan Frontier four-door pickup and the Mazda Troy Lee Edition B-series pickup.
PERFORMANCE CARS, TOO
Two Ford Motor Co. performance cars also made their world debuts: the Ford Cosworth Focus and the Mercury Cougar S.
The Cougar S concept has a 3.0-liter V-6 engine that generates 215 hp with the help of modified intake and exhaust systems. A functional front hood air scoop feeds air pressure to the engine. Ford's MTX-75 five-speed manual transmission links the powerplant to an all-wheel-drive system. The front and rear track have been widened by three inches.
The Cougar S is lower than the production model and has a different front fascia, rocker panels and spoiler. Larger Brembo brakes and 18-inch wheels have been installed. The interior has a different instrument panel, Recaro seats and alloy gas, brake and clutch pedals.
Although Mercury has not said whether it will produce the Cougar S, one source said, 'It doesn't take much to change that 'S' to an 'XR-7.' '
Ford's Cosworth Focus concept is inspired by Ford's European rally effort. This Focus is powered by a Cosworth-developed 2.0-liter turbocharged engine generating more than 200 hp and mated to a five-speed transmission with a viscous-coupled limited-slip differential.
The suspension is lower than the suspension of a regular Focus, and adjustable shock absorbers and variable-rate anti-roll bars have been installed. The front and rear disc brakes with four-piston calipers have been enlarged to 14 and 12 inches in diameter, respectively.
The exterior of the car is set off by lower body panels, different front and rear fascias and a roof-mounted rear spoiler. The interior has Recaro seats and alloy pedals, and the steering wheel, shift knob and instrument cluster are different from those in the regular Focus.
But Ford and Mercury were far from the only automakers catering to the emerging youth market that takes stock compact cars and loads them with performance gadgetry.
Among the other offerings aimed at that market were the Mazda Protege Street Car concept, Mazda Protege All-Sport concept wagon and Honda Prelude street car.