Ford could be looking to its past to name a future product.
Over the past few years, Ford has secured a number of trademarks, some of which have ended up on production models. The oldest example we remember is the Maverick name, which was filed back in 2016 and recently was revealed to be used on an upcoming truck model. Ford has also been caught trademarking G.O.A.T modes for the Bronco and the Warthog name to be used for an upcoming performance variant.
But our latest discovery has gotten us very excited. On January 13, 2021, Ford filed for the name "Thunderbird" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
One of Ford's most iconic models could be making a modern comeback (again).
The Thunderbird name dates back to 1955, spanning 11 generations and lasting until 2005. Often called the T-Bird, this model was marketed as a "personal luxury coupe," with many different configurations. The Thunderbird always had two doors but was sold as a coupe and a convertible throughout its lifetime, sometimes offering a rear seat and other times being sold as a two-seater. From 1968 to 1998, Ford offered more luxurious versions badged as the Lincoln Continental Mark III, Mark IV, Mark V, Mark VII, Mark VIII, and the Mercury Cougar.
The T-Bird's original run lasted from 1955 to 1997 before the model was discontinued. Ford brought back the nameplate for an eleventh generation in 2002 on a retro-styled model that paid homage to the original. As we've seen with recent models like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the upcoming Maverick, there's no guarantee that the new Thunderbird will be anything like previous models.
In fact, we can say with near certainty that a modern Thunderbird wouldn't be a two-door luxury coupe with a big engine upfront. With the word "thunder" already in its name, it seems like a perfect candidate for an electric revival. If we had to guess, we'd say the new Thunderbird will either be an all-electric sports car or a larger SUV to sit above the Mach-E in Ford's lineup.
The USPTO filing specifies usage for "Motor vehicles, namely, concept motor vehicles; four-wheeled motor vehicles."
This means we could see a Thunderbird Concept from Ford before we see a production model. The filing could also turn out to be nothing.
Ford North America Product Communications Manager Mike Levine told CarBuzz, "trademark applications are intended to protect new phrases, designs or symbols but aren't necessarily an indication of new business or product plans." This is not a complete denial, but it's not a confirmation either.
Any information on an upcoming Thunderbird is purely speculative at this point, but we're holding out hope that the iconic model will soon be making its triumphant return.