This is the reborn Hyundai Pony Coupe concept we were always meant to get, not the N Vision 74 concept. Last November, Hyundai announced plans to recreate the Pony Coupe concept shown at the 1974 Turin Motor Show. Designed by Giorgetto Giugaro as part of a full Pony model range, desperate times in the 1970s killed the coupe’s chances of production. Then Hyundai killed the actual concept, sending it to the crusher. With Hyundai’s automotive division about to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the first mass-produced car from Korea, the automaker commissioned Giorgetto and son Fabrizio to recreate the silver wedgy two-door. It’s now been revealed in Lake Como, Italy at a new event called Hyundai Reunion before a wider public debut during the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on May 20.
As for size, the coupe is the same length as a Kio Rio but 6.5 inches narrower, and according to Hyundai’s figures, a whopping 9.5 inches lower — putting the roof an inch lower than that of a 2023 Chevrolet Corvette. The original engine was a 1.3-liter four-cylinder sending 82 horsepower to the rear wheels.
The hatchback was almost unknown in this part of the world until a few years ago, when Hyundai referenced it as inspiration for the 45 Concept that became the Ioniq 5, for the Pony EV restomod, and for the N Vision 74 Concept. Its historical connections include being a precursor to the DeLorean DMC-12, and stealing a potential Volkswagen name. Regarding the former, Giugaro recast a fair bit of the canceled Pony Coupe’s design ethos when he drew the DMC-12 for John Z. DeLorean. Regarding the latter, the same Giugaro said he was also working on a new Volkswagen at the time that was meant to become the VW Pony, but Hyundai reserved the name first, so the VW turned into the Golf.
We’ll bet we’re not finished with Pony-inspired cars, either. Last November, Hyundai Group Chief Creative Officer Luc 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.” Hyundai lead designer SangYup Lee added that a Pony Coupe EV restomod could turn into a limited edition retail model like the Hyundai Heritage Series Grandeur EV. And with plans to do the Hyundai Reunion as “a heritage brand platform that reflects on Hyundai Motor’s past and its future direction,” the company president and CEO said in Italy, “we will continue to leverage our past as a unique vector for our future innovation.”
Even better than all that, this line in the press release caught our attention: “[The] concept embodies Hyundai’s bold determination to enter the sports-car sector for long-term leadership as an automotive company.” We might not get the N Vision 74, but it sure sounds like we’re going to get something.