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Hyundai Pony Coupe Concept Restored After 50 Years, Unveiled at Its Birthplace Italy

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Hyundai Motor Company’s recreated Pony Coupe Concept has made its world premiere — nearly 50 years after its original debut — in Lake Como, Italy. Originally unveiled at the 1974 Turin Motor Show, the Pony Coupe Concept is essential to the company’s history and design heritage.  

Hyundai Motor unveiled the rebuilt Pony Coupe Concept at the inaugural Hyundai Reunion, a heritage brand platform that reflects on Hyundai Motor’s past and future direction. Among the representatives present at the event were Giorgetto Giugiaro and his son Fabrizio Giugiaro, a long-time designer, to signal the previously announced restoration completed by GFG Style. This style centre draws on the creative expertise of Fabrizio and Giorgetto of the car that led to the creation of the brand’s seminal Pony line-up, Korea’s first independently developed mass-production models.

Under the Pony Coupe Concept restoration project, Hyundai Motor Company has brought the original Pony Coupe Concept shown at the 1974 Turin Motor Show back to life. This restoration project is a testament to the spirit, daring passion and ambition that Hyundai employees and executives had to create a global brand with the Pony Coupe Concept at its forefront.

“Despite the poor industrial environment in the 1970s, my grandfather and Hyundai’s Founding Chairman, Ju-young Chung, 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 vehicles with perfection,” said Euisun Chung, Executive Chair of Hyundai Motor Group. “I express my sincere gratitude to everyone from both Italy and Korea who played a critical role in the success of Pony.”

With its unique aesthetic sensibility, the Pony Coupe Concept was a groundbreaking model. Unfortunately, due to the adverse global economic conditions in the late 1970s, what could have been Hyundai’s first sensational sports car was unable to reach commercial production and was lost to history.

Nevertheless, the concept embodies Hyundai’s bold determination to enter the sports-car sector for long-term leadership as an automotive company. This spirit still underlies Hyundai’s leadership in electrification and high-performance hydrogen technology.

The car is now considered a retro-futuristic classic that has served as design inspiration for more recent Hyundai Motor models, such as the N Vision 74 hydrogen-hybrid electric ‘Rolling Lab’ development vehicle and the ’45’ EV concept car that directly influenced the IONIQ 5 all-electric vehicle.

“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, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor Company. “Through Hyundai Reunion and other heritage communication initiatives, we will continue leveraging our past as a unique vector for future innovation.”

The Pony Coupe Concept’s origami-like exterior features flowing geometric lines, a sleek roofline, pure, unadorned surfaces, dynamic proportions and a uniquely shaped B pillar. It boasts a highly graphic surface treatment with bumpers painted in body colour.

Its wedge-shaped snout and circular headlamps distinguished it in 1974 and still look ultra-stylish today. Its coda tronca (‘cut-off tail’) has a slim hatch to provide access to the back of the car.

The minimalist interior showcases an iconic sensibility highlighting the monocoque design and driver-centred floating architecture. A single-spoke steering wheel and two-toned slim-line bucket seats reinforce what was in the 1970s futuristic aesthetic.

When asked about his first interaction with Hyundai on developing the 1973 Pony Coupe Concept more than fifty years before the reunion, Giugiaro revealed: “Hyundai approached us to start a complete redesign of a model, without much experience. I was sceptical at first because I didn’t know Hyundai Motor then. 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. They sacrificed themselves to make a good impression — for the company and their partners. I’m proud and honoured to witness how this company has evolved since we first met.”

Luc Donckerwolke, President and Chief Creative Officer of Hyundai Motor Group, added, “The restoration of this unique vehicle is a milestone in Hyundai’s history. It represents our beginnings and our commitment to the future and serves as a legacy for future generations. It virtually symbolizes the mobile relay baton we pass from the past to the company’s future.”

“The Pony Coupe Concept reflects the company’s gratitude and dedication to the challenging spirits that people at Hyundai Motor had back in 1974,” said SangYup Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai Design Center. “The rebirth of the Pony Coupe Concept is a meaningful milestone in the history of Hyundai Motor because it signifies not only our beginnings but also our commitment to the future with our new dreams.”

“It is extraordinary to have significant people from the company’s early days meet those leading the company into the future,” said Sungwon Jee, Senior Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer at Hyundai Motor Company. “It also marks the launch of Hyundai Reunion, our platform for showcasing the brand’s heritage. This is where one can see how our past success still serves as a basis for our daring attitude today. This spirit of innovation can be seen in these two models and the people who made them possible.”

As part of the global heritage project, Hyundai Motor will expand its new brand platform, Hyundai Reunion, to further spread its brand vision and direction.

Hyundai’s Restored Pony Coupe Concept Dimensions:
Item
Restored Pony Coupe Concept
Length 4080mm
Width 1560mm
Height 1210mm
Wheelbase 2340m
Engine displacement 1238cc, 4 in line, 82 HP at 6000 rpm
Engine Layout Front longitudinal, RWD (rear-wheel drive)
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