Does Lincoln Zephyr trademark mean a return to real names?

Lincoln's long history includes many legendary names, and despite its short life, Zephyrretains a spot in that pantheon. Perhaps its will return once again: Ford Motor Co. applied to trademark Zephyr on May 11.

Trademark filings can have ambiguous meanings, and often they're legal plays to get or keep the rights to a name. But in the last year, we've seen signs Lincoln is looking to use real names on its vehicles again. Obviously, it's keeping Navigator for its flagship sport-utility vehicle with a new model due next year. Reprising Continental for the MKS replacement was also well received. That said, Lincoln still uses the MKX and MKC "names" for its crossovers.


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Zephyr is a dustier moniker. It was used in the 1930s and '40s on a mid-level model spearheaded by Edsel Ford. The stylishly aerodynamic model was set between the Ford V8 De Luxe and more expensive Lincolns. It returned in 2006 as the Lincoln version of the Ford Fusion before that model was renamed MKZ. Mercury also used Zephyr on its version of the Ford Fairmont in the late 1970s and early '80s. Ford last held a trademark on the Zephyr name in 2013.

The filing says Ford seeks to use Zephyr for "motor vehicles and parts and accessories therefor." That could mean a new car — or just parts. Putting the Zephyr badge back on the MKZ is the most likely bet. Meanwhile, Ford also moved to get the Thunderbird trademark on May 11 for the same vehicles and parts purpose, and it filed for the Mustang trademark for shampoo and lotions on May 4.

A Lincoln spokesman said, "In the normal course of our business, we file trademarks for names," but had no further information.