The remake of the 1974 concept was presented at Lake Como: ‘It re-establishes a strong link with our past’, explains the president of the Korean group
Hyundai’s return to the future is called the Pony Coupé, a 1970s prototype designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro that was lost and has now been rebuilt from scratch with the same features as the original. The concept car was unveiled in 1974 at the Turin Motor Show and Hyundai asked GFG Style – Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro’s automotive design company – to faithfully reconstruct it. “The aim of this project was to re-establish a strong link with the past and with a car, the Pony, that for Hyundai has been a symbol of style, marking the beginning of our history,” said Chung Eui-sun President of Hyundai and grandson of the company’s founder during the model’s unveiling at Lake Como.
Designed and hand-built
No technological means were used to make it: ‘We recreated this model from scratch,’ explains Giorgetto Giugiaro. “Everything was done as in the past: the classic form plan was used, the drawing and construction was done by hand, giving shape to the aluminium sheets.” At 4.08 metres long, the rebuilt Pony Coupé is identical to the original from fifty years ago: in 1974 it would have been considered a mid-size model, but today’s cars are so big (thanks to the addition of interior space and safety features) that it is now the size of a hatchback. According to Hyundai, this project marks the debut of the Hyundai Reunion, a new platform that connects people and models to showcase the heritage of the South Korean brand.
Geometric and fluid lines
The concept has a 1.2-litre, 82-horsepower four-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive and has retained the typical wedge shape that characterised cars of the 1970s, with flowing geometric lines, a sleek roofline and unadorned surfaces. “These are all styling elements that can be found on our current cars such as the Ioniq 5 and the N Vision 74 hydrogen-powered super sports prototype,” explains SangYup Lee, Hyundai’s head of design.
Pony, the car that motorised Korea
Hyundai’s founding chairman, Chung Ju-young, was instrumental in rebuilding South Korea’s economy and industry after the Korean War. The Pony Coupé was never produced, but in 1975, with the help of Giugiaro, the Korean manufacturer launched the Pony hatchback. Some 685,800 units were built until 1986. The idea of making a mass-produced Pony Coupé was abandoned in 1979 despite the fact that production was planned for Europe and North America and $80 million had already been spent on tooling – an enormous sum for the time.