Returning the 'Zephyr' Name to the Lincoln Lineup Would Be Pointless

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
returning the zephyr name to the lincoln lineup would be pointless

After standing outside the party in the cold, hoping someone inside would hear its plaintive knocking, Lincoln Motor Company is now on the sales rebound.

The restyled MKX is a hit, we’re getting a better looking (and faster) MKZ, and the new Continental is on the way, but there’s also buzz about a another historic nameplate potentially making a comeback. That model is Zephyr — a name Ford Motor Company recently applied to trademark, though if it’s for use on a vehicle, it should probably reconsider.

Ford’s May filing, first noticed by Autoblog, states it wants to use the Zephyr name for use in “motor vehicles and parts and accessories therefor.”

Why is the automaker doing this? Well, Lincoln’s parent company could simply be looking to keep a historic name in the Ford fold, lest its heritage be sullied by use on a fire-prone hoverboard. Automakers do this all the time, and speculation always runs wild. Just over a week ago, the automaker filing the trademark was General Motors, and the name was Riviera.

Or, it could be planning to return the name to its lineup, which probably wouldn’t be a fantastic idea. At least, as far as sales are concerned.

Compared to Continental — an iconic name stamped onto Lincolns for more than half a century that was once synonymous with American luxury, the Zephyr doesn’t have the same name recognition.

The original V12-powered Zephyr ran from 1936 to 1942, part of the time as its own marque. Besides auto history buffs, the only people who remember that model are ones who remember voting for Truman. Ain’t many of them left.

For the first year of its lineage (2006), the MKZ was known as the Zephyr, until Lincoln decided that playing the alphanumeric game could bring the brand new relevance and an upscale flair. (Yes, there was also a British Ford with the name, as well as a Ford Fairmont-based Mercury model, but those less-than-stellar vehicles are also decades in the past).

Maybe Lincoln thinks names are cool again, or it feels that its models have been swallowed up and watered down by the overabundance of non-word model names. Or, it couldn’t care less about bringing back the name. Either way, Lincoln provided no word on the matter, besides a comment that this was just a normal part of business.

A final comment to drop into the Zephyr-related rumor mill: there’s only one defunct Lincoln model name that would have any real pull with today’s buying public, and that’s “Town Car.”

[Image: The Henry Ford/ Flickr]

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  • STS_Endeavour STS_Endeavour on Jun 05, 2016

    No need to go back to Zephyr at this point. Keep the Z - drop the MK. Keep numbers away from it, and Nissan US won't have much to complain about.

  • Sigivald Sigivald on Jun 06, 2016

    Yes, "Zephyr" is not a name to conjure with. But it beats "MKZ" for memorability and pronunciation. It's not a mistake, it's just not a Huge Automatic Win.

  • Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."
  • Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
  • Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.
  • Lorenzo They may as well put a conventional key ignition in a steel box with a padlock. Anything electronic is more likely to lock out the owner than someone trying to steal the car.
  • Lorenzo Another misleading article. If they're giving away Chargers, people can drive that when they need longer range, and leave the EV for grocery runs and zipping around town. But they're not giving away Chargers, thy're giving away chargers. What a letdown. What good are chargers in California or Nashville when the power goes out?