ROME – The historic Pony Coupe Concept from 1974 is back to life. Hyundai’s first independent model will be rebuilt and presented next spring thanks to the collaboration with the Italian design studio Gfg Style and in particular with its founders Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro. It was the young Giorgetto himself who was commissioned by the then founder and president of the Korean company, Ju-Yung Chung, to build the first mass-produced car in Korea.
At the time, there was no automotive design and styling expertise in the country, so Hyundai commissioned Giugiaro to design, develop and build 5 prototypes, one of which was a coupé. Subsequently, Hyundai decided to exhibit the Pony and Pony Coupé at the 1974 Turin Auto Show to promote the Korean company’s debut on the international stage. Hyundai unveiled the concept car’s “rebirth” project for the first time during a “design talk” in Seoul also attended by Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro together with Luc Donckerwolke, chief creative officer of Hyundai Motor Group, and SangYup Lee, executive vice president and head of Hyundai Motor’s global design center.
“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Giorgetto and Fabrizio to Seoul for this precious occasion and we look forward to collaborating with them and with GFG Style on this extraordinary design project – said Donckerwolke – It is an initiative that has historical and represents an intercultural exchange that could pave the way for further collaborations in the future”.
“The first Pony and the Pony Coupe Concept are among those rare creations capable of single-handedly influencing the design of not just one, but multiple production models as well as concepts, such as our award-winning Ioniq 5 and the astonishing N Vision 74 – added SangYup Lee – Since the original concept car no longer exists, we commissioned Giorgetto Giugiaro to rebuild it, following our design philosophy ‘Shaping the future with legacy’”.
Hyundai originally planned to launch the Pony Coupe on the North American and European markets but, shortly before it went into production, was forced to cancel the project in 1981 due to the oil crisis and the global economic recession.
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In any case, the wave of innovation brought by the prototype contributed to the development of the Korean automotive industry, inevitably influencing the first models produced in series by Hyundai, under the name of Pony, then sold all over the world from 1975 to 1990. In short, the Pony Coupé Concept represents a milestone in the brand’s heritage as well as being an important imprint of the innovative vision that Ju-Yung Chung had of the company since its inception.
As evidence of the importance of this model, just think that in 2019, Hyundai drew inspiration from it for the “45” concept car, from which the Ioniq 5 electric crossover was born, launched two years later. In 2021, it reinterpreted the original stock Pony as the basis for an electric restomod, while the following year it again referenced the coupe concept for its N Vision 74 hydrogen hybrid “rolling lab”.
“I designed the Hyundai Pony when I was still a young designer at the beginning of my career – underlined Giorgetto Giugiaro – I felt very proud to have been commissioned to create a vehicle for a company and a country that were about to challenge a fiercely competitive global market. Now I am deeply honored that Hyundai has asked me to rebuild it for posterity, to celebrate the heritage of the brand”. Finally, a curiosity: the design of the Hyundai Pony Coupé Concept was also a great source of inspiration for Giugiaro’s project on the DeLorean DMC 12, in 1983 a model that later became famous all over the world thanks to the film saga “Back to the Future”