RECENT experiments in mixing classic car design with contemporary or even futuristic elements have been unexpectedly successful. Peugeot’s E-Legend concept of 2018, which was inspired by the 1969 504 coupé, was so popular with motorshow-goers that buyers were literally shouting (and tweeting) “Take my money” at the French car maker. Honda’s Urban EV concept, which was influenced by classic Civic design, received so much praise the company did end up turning it into a production vehicle: the Honda e.
One wonders if the Hyundai Heritage Series Pony might have the same effect.
Built from 1975 to 1990, the Hyundai Pony (pictured below in a recent brand campaign) was Korea’s first mass-produced and exported vehicle. It was penned by legendary automobile designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, who was also responsible for the VW Golf, DeLorean DMC12 and BMW M1 coupé, among numerous other timeless classics.
The Italian designer’s handiwork is mostly unchanged when it comes to the bodywork of the Heritage Series Pony, though modern touches have been applied here and there, most notably the wing mirrors, which have been replaced by video cameras, as well as the pixelated LED headlights and U-shaped rear lights.
These in turn were influenced by Hyundai’s ‘Pixel Road Trip’ design approach to the forthcoming Ioniq 5 production electric car and 45 concept (below), which incorporate pixels and eight-bit graphics.
Inside mixes contemporary design and materials with classic design and even steampunk-style elements, such as the speedometer instrument panel made of lit vacuum tubes, as well as other stylishly retrofitted design elements. The gear selector is a digital touch panel, while there’s a smartphone cradle and retro steering wheel with voice-control.
Although no powertrain information is mentioned in the press information, the Hyundai Heritage Series Pony’s boot features a “last-mile mobility device” (an e-scooter, we presume) within a stainless steel case, which suggests it is an electric car. Last-mile mobility is helpful when you rely on public EV recharging infrastructure and need help travelling that last bit of the journey, from the charging point to your home or office.
Sadly, there are no plans for production of this retro-modern take on the Pony; instead it merely “offers a glimpse of the future,” according to Hyundai. It was created to feature as part of the ‘Reflections in Motion’ exhibition at the recently opened Hyundai Motorstudio Busan in South Korea, which “invites visitors to explore and reflect on the interactive relationships between time and design as well as technology and styling.” The exhibition includes other installations intended to showcase Hyundai Motor’s vision of enabling ‘Progress for Humanity’.
Now is the time to start making some serious noise if you like what you see, though.
– After reading about the Hyundai Heritage Series Pony retro-futurist concept, take a look at Hyundai’s new Ioniq 5 electric car.
– You should also check out the 2021 Hyundai Bayon crossover, a rival to the Nissan Juke.
– And for every brilliant design, there’s a stinker. Take a look at these ugliest cars of all time.