Whether production or concept, Hyundai is on a design roll at the moment. Cars like the Grandeur perfectly channelled the 1980s, while those in the showroom like the Ioniq 5 smartly combine futuristic styling with proper practicality. Now it’s time for another retro resurrection, albeit a slightly different one this time around - because this Pony Coupe Concept isn’t much changed at all.
The original was first revealed at the 1974 Turin motor show, a handsome Giugiaro-designed two-door that nobody expected from such a young Korean company. It’s gone on to be considered something of a classic, and inspired recent concepts like the N Vision 74. So instead of reinventing the Pony, it’s been rebuilt. They’ve even managed to get old man Giugiaro involved, at 84, along with his son Fabrizio.
So if this looks a lot like a Hyundai Pony, then that’s exactly the point of the Coupe Concept, especially as the original no longer exists: ‘the Pony Coupe Concept has been faithfully recreated to exacting specifications and original materials’ reads the press release. Of course, there are modern details, with sharper surfaces and a refreshed interior, but this is never going to be mistaken for anything but a Pony. And it’s looking better than ever. Hyundai points to the ‘wedge-shaped snout’ as well as ‘geometric lines, a sleek roofline, pure unadorned surfaces, dynamic proportions’ and that funky B-pillar for the impact - it still looks cool, that’s for sure. No wonder Giugiaro wanted everyone reminded of his work.
Don’t expect tyre scorching performance, however, as the Pony is faithfully restored all the way down to a modest 1.2-litre, 82hp engine. It is rear-wheel drive, though. All told it seems a real shame that the Pony never made production in this form, a fate attributed to the industrial mess of the 1970s. ‘What could have been Hyundai’s first sensational sports cars was unable to reach commercial production and was lost to history’ - pity.
Now the Pony is getting its 15 minutes of fame. The Coupe Concept will be at this weekend’s Villa d’Este concours, part of the Hyundai Reunion event, an appropriately glamorous location for such a significant car. (Hopefully, that means some better pics can follow as well.) Expect plenty more Reunion-style activities, too, as Hyundai continues to best use its heritage to inform future EV products.
“In the age of electrification, a key condition for Hyundai Motor Company to become a leader in future mobility will be our ability to remain faithful to the unshakable values we inherited,” said Jaehoon Chang, Hyundai President and CEO. “Moving forward… we will continue to leverage our past as a unique vector for our future innovation.” Could do an awful lot worse, surely, than junking the 1.2 for some batteries and keeping the Pony exactly the same. The perfect foil for an electric Opel Manta…
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