It was, surely, a project Hyundai's design department was glad to be given. Led by Hak Soo Ha, the company's head of interior design, Hyundai designers set about stripping down a first-generation Pony and then building it back up with an electric powertrain, modern headlights and rear lights and a thoroughly modern interior environment.
The result of the one-off project, the Hyundai Pony Heritage EV, was shared without much fanfare on Instagram, accompanied by a press release to celebrate Hyundai's new customer centre located in Busan, South Korea. The car also features fender-mounted side mirrors and retro yet futuristic Nixie tube instruments that embody the ultimate in 1970s-era styling.
What's most interesting is that an actual vintage model was used rather than creating a body simply inspired by the past.
The Hyundai Pony Heritage EV is not only a testament to the creative spirit of the company's design department, which is under the direction of Luc Donckerwolke, but it is also a tip of the hat to Giorgio Giugiaro, the father of the original Pony, which was unveiled 47 years ago at the 1974 Turin Motor Show.
And what's doubly interesting about all this is that this Pony served as the inspiration for the design of the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the first model to come out of the all-electric division set up by the Korean automaker.
The Pony, we’ll remind you, was Hyundai's first real car, acompact model built on a relatively conventional rear-wheel drive platform. The two-door hatchback that Hyundai used for this project came on the market a few years later, thouh it largely retained the styling of the four-door model. This generation of the Pony was never sold in North America, but consumers here of course would become very familiar with the one that followed.
Hyundai is clear about the model that was shown; an insider told Car and Driver, "Don't read too much into it. It came out of nowhere, like a work of art. "
Still, something tells us an EV like this would be a huge success.