Has General Motors got something in the works to pay homage to Corvette’s first Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov? Earlier this month, the automaker filed a trademark application for “Zora” under the category of “Vehicles and Products for locomotion by land, air or water”. Could a future special or namesake edition Corvette be in the works?
We knew the C7 Corvette’s A6 automatic transmission was going to be phased out at some point and speculation has been rampant that a new, 8 speed transmission would replace it. After all, GM has been talking about the upcoming 8-speed for a while now. However, it now seems that the Vette’s next automatic might just be a clutch-less manual.
After trademarking Turbo-Jet last fall, it appears that GM has dusted off another legendary term. GM Authority reported late last week that General Motors has recently been given approval to use a pair of different L88 trademarks. The two requests were filed in August and September 2012 respectively and final approval was given on January 15th of this year.
In 2008, Jim M. Sweeney sought to register the trademark CORVOLTTE for “electric vehicles, namely, automobiles”. General Motors opposed the registration saying that it would cause confusion with its mark CORVETTE. The three-judge board ruled on December 10, 2010 in favor of GM, but in its decision the court rebuked the automaker saying they failed to provide proof of fame of its mark and also failed to submit properly into evidence its registration for the CORVETTE mark for “automobiles”.
Earlier this year in May, GM filed a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office for the name “Stingray” for use on “motor land vehicles, namely, automobiles”. This is leading to speculation that GM may be registering the name in advanced of launching the C7 Corvette which is expected sometime between 2012-2014.
It recently came to the attention of some enterprising Corvette enthusiasts with a bit of time on their hands that GM has renewed its federal trademark for ZR-1, the option code for Corvettes built from 1990-1995 with the 32-valve DOHC LT-5 engine. A trademark extension was filed on December 5, 2006 and it appears the purpose of the filing was to allow GM the use of the moniker for merchandise and accessories related to the ZR-1 Corvette. However, I did a little more digging at the United States patent and trademark office and found that a renewal for the ZR-1 trademark was made November 3, 2006 for the use of “Motor land vehicles, namely automobiles”.
From the USPTO:
Word Mark ZR-1
Goods and Services IC 012. US 019 021 023 031 035 044. G & S: Motor land vehicles, namely automobiles
Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Design Search Code
Serial Number 77036100
Filing Date November 3, 2006
Current Filing Basis 1B
Original Filing Basis 1B
Owner (APPLICANT) General Motors Corporation CORPORATION DELAWARE 300 Renaissance Center P.O. Box 300 Detroit MICHIGAN 482653000
Attorney of Record Timothy G. Gorbatoff
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE
Now it would be irresponsible speculation on my part to think that GM would have an interest in using the ZR-1 RPO code for the Blue Devil/SS Corvette. There is a line of thinking that GM wouldn’t use the ZR-1 RPO for the Blue Devil/SS because the term is so closely aligned with the 1990’s LT-5 Corvette. However, the use of the ZR-1 RPO in the 90’s was actually the second time it was used. GM first introduced the ZR-1 package back in 1970 which included the LT-1 engine (350ci 370hp), M22 transmission, heavy-duty power brakes, transistor ignition and aluminum radiator. Fifty-three Corvettes were ordered with the package during its three-year availability.
Use of the ZR-1 name for a new “King of the Hill” Corvette actually makes more sense than some of the other names suggested like the Z07. That RPO was related to a suspension package in both the seventies and nineties, and doesn’t really ooze of high performance history that GM appears to be fond of dusting off and reusing in new applications.