Hyundai and designer Giorgetto Giugiaro have collaborated to build a
concept model of Hyundai’s first mass-produced car.

Back in 1974 the Hyundai Pony Concept made its debut at the Turin motor show.

Penned by legendary Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, there is some debate over
whether the concept was produced for Hyundai. Or, as claimed by Italdesign, the
company asked if it could put its name on the project after it had already been

Either way, Hyundai and Giugiaro have been talking and will collaborate to recreate
the car which apparently no longer exists.

The concept spawned Hyundai’s first mass-produced car Pony, built from 1975 to
1985. It was South Korea’s first mass-produced vehicle and also the first to be
exported. And, if it looks kind of familiar, then you’d be right.

The concept was also the basis for the famous DeLorean DMC 12 from the movie
Back to the Future.

Giugiaro said he designed the Hyundai Pony when I was still a young designer at the
start of his career.

1975 Hyundai Pony hatch

“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,” he said. “Now, I’m
deeply honoured that Hyundai has asked me to rebuild it for posterity and as a
celebration of the brand’s heritage.”

Plans to rebuild the concept were announced after talks between Giorgetto, son
Fabrizio Giugiaro, Hyundai’s creative director Luc Donckerwolke and Hyundai vice
president of design SangYup Lee.

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Giorgetto and Fabrizio to Seoul for this rare
occasion and we look forward to collaborating with them and GFG Style on this
extraordinary design project,” Donckerwolke said.

“Not only does this project hold historical value, but it also represents a cross-cultural
exchange that could pave the way for more collaborations down the road.”

In 1974, when Hyundai Motor was still in its early days of vehicle production,
company execs contacted Giorgetto Giugiaro with a proposal to design Hyundai’s
first independent model and Korea’s first mass-produced car.

At the time, there was no vehicle design and styling capability in Korea, so Hyundai
Motor commissioned Giugiaro to design, make blueprints and build five prototypes,
one of which was a coupe.

1975 Hyundai Pony hatch

In the process of designing and prototyping, Hyundai decided to show the Pony and
Pony Coupe at the Turin Motor Show to promote the brand’s debut in the global

With its wedge-style nose, circular headlamps and origami-like geometric lines, the
Pony Coupe was intended for North American and European markets, but the
project came to a stop in 1981 just before mass production amid adverse global
economic environment.

While the concept was an unfinished dream at the time, it influenced Hyundai’s first
independent production models under its Pony nameplate, which ran from 1975 to
1990 and were sold around the world.

The Pony and Pony Coupe Concept’s impact can still be felt.

In 2019, Hyundai Motor took inspiration from the original Pony for the ’45’ concept
car, which directly influenced the IONIQ 5, which debuted two years later. Also in
2021, Hyundai reinterpreted the original Pony production car as a Restomod electric
vehicle concept.

And, in 2022, Hyundai nodded to the coupe concept yet again with its crowd-
pleasing N Vision 74 hydrogen-hybrid ‘rolling lab’ development vehicle. Since the
original concept car no longer exists, we’ve commissioned Giorgetto Giugiaro to
rebuild it based on our design philosophy, ‘Shaping the future with legacy,” Lee said.

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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