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Hyundai Motor resurrects Pony Coupe Concept

Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun mentions possibility of producing revived vehicle for sales

May 19, 2023 - 16:18 By Kan Hyeong-woo
Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun (left) and Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro pose for a photo in front of the revived Pony Coupe Concept at Hyundai Motor Company's event in Lake Como, Italy on Thursday. (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor Company has brought back the Pony Coupe Concept vehicle about 50 years after the original vehicle was first showcased at the 1974 Turin Motor Show in Italy to highlight the automaker’s history and heritage.

Hyundai Motor unveiled the restored Pony Coupe Concept at the inaugural event for Hyundai Reunion -- a heritage brand platform that reflects on the automaker’s past and its future direction -- in Lake Como, Italy, on Thursday.

"Despite the poor industrial environment in the 1970s, my grandfather and Hyundai’s founding Chairman Chung Ju-young poured his heart and soul into rebuilding Korea’s economy and improving the lives of its people after the devastating Korean War. He finally realized his vision of making Korea a country capable of developing its own vehicles with perfection,” Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun said.

The restoration project, which began in November last year, was carried out in collaboration with Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and his son Fabrizio Giugiaro, who is also a long-time designer himself. Giorgetto Giugiaro designed the first-generation models of Hyundai vehicles such as the Pony Excel, Presto, Stellar and Sonata.

With its unique aesthetic sensibility, the Pony Coupe Concept received high praise when it made its debut. However, the Pony Coupe Concept never made it to mass production despite its ambitious debut half a century ago, due to the global economic recession in 1979 and the worsening business environment.

“We were all impressed by the passion and commitment of the Hyundai engineers. They were sharp, curious, open and extremely eager to learn. They immediately embraced the working methods that were new to them. I’m proud and honored to witness how this company has evolved since we first met,” said Giugiaro.

The Pony Coupe Concept’s "origami-like" exterior features sweeping straight lines, a sleek roofline, plain surfaces and a broad pillar in the midsection. The minimalist interior features a monocoque design and driver-centered floating architecture as well as a single-spoke steering wheel and two-toned slim-line bucket seats that were intended to boast futuristic aesthetics in the 1970s.

According to Hyundai Motor, the restored car is considered a retro-futuristic classic that has served as design inspiration for recent Hyundai Motor models such as the N Vision 74 hydrogen-hybrid electric vehicle and the 45 EV concept car that led to the production of the globally popular Ioniq 5.

The Hyundai Motor Group chief left the possibility of producing the Pony Coupe Concept in mass scale open.

“Designer Giugiaro said he certainly would want mass production. There are lots of factors to be considered, but if (customers) like it a lot, nothing is undoable,” said Chung.