The restored Pony Coupe had a world premiere in Lake Como, Italy, on Thursday, nearly five decades after it was first introduced.
The famous Pony sedan had a glittering debut at the 1974 Turin Motor Show as Korea’s first domestically-developed rear-wheel drive vehicle which put Korean car-making on the map.
The late founder Chung Ju-yung had big plans for the coupe when its prototype came out. All was smooth sailing to mass-produce the model and export Hyundai Motor’s very first sports car to the U.S. and Europe.
Right before the start of production, however, the founder’s ambitious dream dissolved into thin air in 1981 as the global economy reeled from the 1979 oil crisis.
With its wedge-style nose, circular headlamps and origami-like geometric lines, Giorgetto Glugiaro, the legendary Italian car designer who helped to create the model in 1974, and his son Fabrizio Giugiaro, also participated in the restoration to bring back the Pony sedan in perfect condition.
The revival project, which began last November, was pulled through with an initiative to preserve the late founder’s legacy to make Pony Coupe a global brand.
However, the carmaker does not have any plans to mass-produce the original Pony Coupe — but the carmaker did still leave the possibility to produce them in small quantities using smart factories, according to Hyundai Motor’s spokesperson.
Starting with Pony, Giugiaro designed various Hyundai models in the automaker’s early days, including the Excel, Accent, Stellar and Sonata.
“The restoration of this unique vehicle is a milestone in Hyundai’s history,” said Hyundai Motor President Luc Donckerwolke. “It represents our beginnings and our commitment to the future. It serves as a legacy for generations to come. It virtually symbolizes the mobile relay baton we are passing from the past to the future of the company.”
Although the model was never mass-produced, the Pony Coupe Concept’s design directly influenced the design of N Vision 74 concept car, its first hydrogen-powered sports car unveiled last July.
The Pony Coupe also served as a source of inspiration for Giugiaro’s work on the DeLorean DMC 12 that debuted in 1983 and was used in the “Back to the Future” films (1985-90).
BY LEE JAE-LIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]