This retro-modern reconstruction of the automaker's groundbreaking Pony small car is a futuristic blast from the not-too-distant past.
Craig ColeFormer reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
The Pony is a watershed product in Hyundai history. Built between 1975 and 1990, this venerable small car was the South Korean automaker's first mass-produced and exported vehicle. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Pony looked sleek, though it was actually a less-than-stellar product. But proving even the most denigrated cars can be cool when given the right treatment, on Monday, the automaker revealed the Heritage Series Pony, a retro-modern reconstruction of the original, and man, does this little hatchback look cool.
Treated to a matte-silver paint job, the car's squared-off body and simple lines look almost futuristic, almost, though it's the details of this reimagined Hyundai that really seal the deal. Its side-view mirror housings feature cameras instead of reflective glass. This Pony's headlights and taillights are composed of pixelated LEDs that appear both retro and modern at the same time. The taillights are also U-shaped and highly distinctive.
Inside this car you'll find materials far more premium than were ever fitted to an original Pony. Rich leather, brushed metal and artful design abound. There's also plenty of tech, with amenities that, to drivers of an original model, would sound like they were stolen from a science-fiction film. This version features an electronic shifter, has a voice-activation control on the steering wheel and comes with a nifty place to stash your smartphone. But hands down the most eye-catching item of all has got to be the lighted vacuum-tube array that serves as the instrument cluster. Is this design practical? Hell no! But it sure looks sweet.
Other details about the Heritage Series Pony are sparse, but it doesn't really matter because it looks so friggin' neat. Please, peruse the photo gallery included in this post and see for yourself, or better yet, check the car out in person if you can. It will be on display at the Hyundai Motorstudio Busan from April 8 to June 27 as part of the company's Reflections in Motion exhibition. If you're in South Korea over the next couple months, make sure to check out this one-off machine.
Hyundai's Heritage Series Pony is achingly beautiful