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Hagerty Employee

Hyundai built the modern-day Pony we didn't even know we wanted | Hagerty Media

While American manufacturers promise EV pickups with vague, distant deadlines, their counterparts in Korea and Japan are getting decidedly more creative with their time-and their electrons. To jazz up its new customer center in Busan, South Korea, with a one-of-a-kind display piece, Hyundai tasked Hak Soo Ha, the head of interior design, to merge past and future in an unexpected one-off.
Pit Crew

Looked at the Pony when first introduced as it was priced well below the competition.Glad I didn't jump in as the Pony lasted about 2 years before the rust worm showed up.And that worm was bad here in The Great White north!!

“Hyundai built the modern-day Pony we didn’t even know we wanted”

I’m very sure I don’t want it.
Pit Crew

"The Great White North, when it received a second-gen version of the car in the mid-’80s, loved the Pony." Uh no we didn't. It only sold well the first year because it was super cheap and when they only lasted 1 year before rusting out or the mechanicals crapped out no one bought them anymore and the original owners were stuck with them
Pit Crew

Everything looks good but the Nixie tubes, surely there was a better solution available. Nixie tubes were outdated in the 80's and are a major power drain on an electric vehicle.
Intermediate Driver

HA! What a different take on retro-mod-ding... a reinterpretation!

I personally love the nixie-tubes as they remind me of a functional cut-away revealing how they function... as they function. I would have liked to see more of this sort of thing throughout the car in the "engine bay" as well... similar to the "Flux-Capacitor" in another favorite of mine...

Back to reality for a moment. In 1990 there was a low point in my life where two cars of mine were stolen from my kids and one wasn't insured for theft, just liability. I took my wife and daughter to the Hyundai dealer and for less than $20K, bought a top-o-the-line Sonata with dealer add-ons and an almost bottom of the line Excel for my daughter.

We're in SoCal so there wasn't a rust issue and both cars were now fuel-injected. The Sonata's V-6 (Thank you Mitsubishi!) was an excellent runner but we couldn't keep refrigerant in the A/C, and just the lack of metallurgical quality was missing from the otherwise excellent design. Overall, it became a real P.O.S. in just a few years. What saved Hyundai was their 100K mile warranty, but one needed to decide if they actually wanted to DRIVE the car... or have it in the SHOP for most of that time.

My daughter's Excel... it completed 3 years of high school, 3 years of college and another 3 years of law school when my daughter decided she just deserved another car. That car proved to be a real champ!

Now... in the new millennium, Hyundai and Kia are reaping accolades from all over! From what I have read so far in longer term testing, apparently the reality of their warranty program hasn't changed that much!

Very cool. Kinda of a '70s Lancia/Alfa vibe in the front. Pony Speed now, Mr. Sulu!
Intermediate Driver

I think I want it... if the tubes really show the Pony Speed in km/s (Kilometer/second) Wow!!
Intermediate Driver

For conversion purposes: 128km/s are equal to 461mph

I'm not sure if the article originally stated kps, but it now says kph, which works out to a much more plausible 80 mph. 😆
Intermediate Driver

Now you can beat me (I am a new user): the speedometer shows only 286mph (461km/h) or 128km/s - still want it!

I'm not a big fan of small cars but this is terrific. And since I'm on the Left Coast I don't worry too much about rust. Perfect for the congestion we have here. And I'm sure I will be yelled at but I would like a slush box for here. Thank you for this.
Pit Crew

Love the look. Reminds me of my 84 Merc Lynx. Would love to restomod one of those.
New Driver

Bought a Pony brand new in '84... worst new car we've ever owned. Fit and finish was horrible and our dealer experience left a lot to be desired. The engine required a rebuild at 16,000km due to excessive oil consumption (1 liter every 600km) and that was done very reluctantly under warranty! When we got the car back after the engine rebuild I discovered they hadn't replaced the air filter!!! Who puts an old filter on a new engine?!?!?! I could go on but suffice to say we were extremely happy when we were finally able to sell it. If it had one saving grace it was its very good gas mileage.
Advanced Driver

Nixie tubes are awesome! I've never wanted an EV but this is one I would love to drive. Props to Hyundai and the talented Mr. Ha!

The Ponies were easy to spot. Just look for a rising cloud of blue smoke and man did they rust. Worst junk ever made. I will never buy a Hyundai. The new ones look a bit better. That's all.
Advanced Driver

It's amazing how truly modern this recycled car looks. Compared to the "squinty eyed, aggressive, bottom feeder, gaping maw " styling currently in fashion, this looks (IMO) minimally elegant. That interior looks as though it was lifted from some high dollar vehicle! It's a shame that it is just a design exercise, but hopefully, Hyundai will transfer the better elements of it to their current production
cars! 🙂

Very cool. I’d drive it!
Intermediate Driver

Me, I think it’s really cool looking. Would certainly stand out in the crowd and that lighting is fantastic.
The original Pony’s weren’t that bad compared to what was selling for that price in Canada at the time. Think Lada, Yugo, Dacia and Innocenti. Thing is you needed to change the oil very frequently. The real issues were poor electrical and distributors that would disintegrate.

My father bought a new one in the mid-1980s, just after they came out in Canada. It needed an entirely new brake system at 40,000 km and was rusting badly by the time he replaced it 18 months later with the last generation of R5 imported to Canada, a sporty 5-door hatchback that blew the doors off that Pony in every possible way.

I remember riding in Hyundai Ponys (Ponies?) a common taxicab--while in Korea around 1982 or so. Granted they took a beating, but even so, they were terrible--apparently no shocks, wire and bobbin steering (like an outboard boat of the time) and certainly no padding or springs in the back seats. And in Seoul traffic, it was downright terrifying.

When Hyundai first came to the States a few years later, a co-worker bought one; everything broke on it--even the door handles. After a year she traded it on a Subaru with 211,000 miles, and drove it another 100k with no problems; not even the driver's seat upholstery was worn after 300k miles.

Hyundai (and Kia) have come a long way in the past 25 or so years--their 100k warranty (and concurrent quality improvements) saved them in the US.

Looks like a Chevelle.

Hate to tell you I really never wanted one and knew it.

A well done show piece. Good article.

Giugiaro clearly had only one "pen" in his quiver. I thought this was a Sirocco / Peugeot / Lancia or one of his other nearly identical profiles. Park this next to a new Tucson and recognize how far this company has come in a short period of time.