It was a case of back to the future when little known carmaker Hyundai revealed their wild Pony Coupe concept at the 1974 Turin Motor Show. Back to the Future, because the Pony was designed by a young Giogetto Giugiaro, who also designed the iconic DeLorean five or six years later – you know, the Back to the Future car.
The roots of the Pony were unmistakable in the DeLorean, with the wedge nose and double headlamps inset below the hood. If you look at pictures of the two cars, the relationship is unmistakable. The DeLorean only lasted a few wild years, ending with John DeLorean’s arrest – and later acquittal – on drug smuggling charges.
The Pony was another story. In its wild concept form it never made it into production, but a more normal shaped Pony became Hyundai’s first mass production and exported car in 1975 to 1994. The name remained in use until 2000, as it was used on export versions of the Excel and Accent.
That Pony concept is considered the icon that opened the world stage to Hyundai, kick-starting its growth to where it is one of the leading car brands today.
In 2019 Hyundai gave a nod to the 45-year old icon by unveiling the 45 EV Concept at the Frankfurt auto show. The design celebrates the ’74 Pony, but its electric powertrain and new technology point it to the future. The 45 is also a fastback, with a wide, super lightweight monocoque body inspired by aircraft from the 1920s.
Giogetto Giugiaro became a car-design icon, being named Car Designer of the Century in 1999 and inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2002. He designed hundreds of iconic cars, from supercars to mass-market production cars. From the late ‘50s well into the 2000s, Giugiaro shaped and sculpted Alfas, Lambos, Ferraris, even the market-changing Golf I in ’74. He is credited with creating the concept of the MPV/minivan people movers. He also created the Hyundai Sonata and Accent in the ‘80s.
Giugiaro not only designed cars. He also designed camera bodies for Nikon and firearms for Beretta. He also designed trains, motorcycles, tractors and even pasta machines.
He was a visionary designer and his Hyundai Pony can most certainly be credited with setting the Korean carmaker on its stellar flightpath. Today Hyundai leads when it comes to cars we drive today and what we will drive tomorrow. You can keep up with this exciting journey on our always-updated blog.