Hyundai to rebuild original Pony Coupé Concept

Hyundai looks back while designing vehicles for the future

Reuben Van Niekerk
Hyundai Pony

Hyundai has teamed up with Italian design firm GFG Style and father and son founders Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro to rebuild the influential 1974 Pony Coupé Concept that a young Giorgetto created for Hyundai’s debut at the 1974 Turin Motor show. 

The original Pony and Pony Coupé Concept were rare creations that influenced the designs of multiple production and concept vehicles, including the award winning Ioniq 5 and head turning N Vision 74. 

In 1974, when Hyundai was still in its infancy, company executives looked to Giorgetto Giugiaro to design Hyundai’s first independent model and Korea’s first mass production car. At the time there was no vehicle design and styling capability in Korea, so Hyundai commissioned Giugiaro to design, make blueprints and build five prototypes, one of which was a coupé. Two of these prototypes, the Pony and the Pony Coupé were shown at the Turin Motor show as part of the brand’s debut to the global market. 

With a wedge-style nose, circular headlamps and origami-like geometric lines, the Pony Coupé was intended for North American and European markets, but the project came to a halt in 1981 due to a variety of reasons. While the concept was an unfinished dream at the time, its bold spirit helped kickstart the Korean automotive industry by directly influencing Hyundai’s first independent production models under the Pony nameplate, which were sold around the world between 1975 and 1990. 

The design of this concept also served as a huge source of inspiration for Giugiaro’s work on the DeLorean DMC 12 that debuted in 1983 and went on to become an automotive icon thanks to its starring role in the Back to the Future Movies. 

In 2019, Hyundai took inspiration from the original Pony for the 45 concept car, which directly influenced the Ioniq 5, which debuted two years later. In 2021, Hyundai reinterpreted the original Pony production car as a restomod electric vehicle concept. In 2022, design cues from the Coupé Concept were once again evident in the crowd-pleasing N Vision 74 hydrogen-hybrid rolling lab development vehicle. 

“I designed the Hyundai Pony when I was still a young designer at the start of my career. I felt very proud that I was in charge of creating a vehicle for a company and country that was about to take on a fiercely competitive global market. Now, I’m deeply honoured that Hyundai has asked me to rebuild it for posterity and as a celebration of the brand’s heritage,” said Giugiaro.