From the Hyundai Veloster to the BMW 7 Series, all sorts of cars have experimented with matte finishes over the past few years. Call it a bit of hot rod chic making it into the industry, consumer appetites for flat finishes are still large enough to eat a horse, so it’s not surprising to see America’s favorite road vehicle entering the low-gloss arena. For 2024, Ford is rolling out the F-150 Lightning Platinum Black Edition and it can be absolutely none more black.
Most of this murdered-out truck’s exterior is finished in matte black, with pops of gloss black on the roof and door handles for contrast. The Lightning decals on the bedsides are particularly cool because they’re highly reflective at night, just like some athletic wear, and all trim from the mirror caps to the Ford emblems are blacked-out. Even the standard tonneau cover is satin black. On the inside, the blackout trend continues with fine black leather and dark Lightning graphics applied to the glass moonroof. It’s all part of the trend of automakers hopping onto aftermarket trends, and there’s another one on the go here that’s hard to see — the F-150 Lightning Platinum Black Edition isn’t actually painted matte black.
Yes, the F-150 Lightning Platinum Black Edition is a factory wrap over top of gloss black — yes, this is a vinyl-clad truck with all the visual impact of matte paint and none of the pain factor. While actual matte paint has become fashionable in the luxury car world, it’s also a huge pain in the ass to live with. It can’t be polished, it can’t be blended to repair damage, it can’t be run through an automatic car wash, and major contaminants like tree sap and bird dirt need to be removed ASAP or else the finish could be compromised. Needless to say, it’s not for everyone, but there is still a way to get the matte look without having to go to all the pesky matte paint care effort.
A wrap is a thin vinyl coating stretched, shrunk, and adhered over top of a car’s factory paint, enormous sticker-style. It’s way cheaper to fix than actual paint, which means its matte care instructions are typically less arduous than with matte paint. Panel gets nicked? Just re-wrap it. Need a wash? Just use a wax-free cleaner. However, wraps have their limitations, namely age. According to popular vinyl manufacturer 3M, “You should expect your car wrap to last roughly five to seven years, depending on the finish and proper maintenance.” See, if you leave wrap on a car too long, not only does the vinyl start to degrade, the glue tacking it to the paint starts to separate. Although a many-years-old wrap can look great up top, it can still be hiding paint damage underneath. On the plus side, a Ford representative states that the wrap is covered under the vehicle’s three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, so there’s peace of mind in the short term.
Ford only plans on building 2,000 F-150 Lightning Platinum Black Edition models, each with a steep starting price tag of $99,990 including freight. Deliveries are expected to start in early 2024, and this thing’s Darth Vader finish should really pop against snow-blanketed landscapes. Sure, it’s a big price to pay for this particular look, but given how most quality wraps will run you several thousand dollars, it’s not bad value if you were looking at a fully-loaded Lightning anyway.
(Photo credits: Ford)
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