Hyundai reinvents the Pony

16th April 2021
Bob Murray

Funny how from strange beginnings big things are sometimes born. Who would have thought, for instance, that a Morris Marina could have provided the spark for what is today a global automotive giant, even after a restyle by master designer Giorgetto Giugiaro? Now, 46 years after Hyundai first unleashed its debut export model, the South Korean firm is reminding us just how important was the car they called the Pony…


Remember the Pony? The sharply-styled compact rear-drive saloon (and later hatchback) was first shown at the Turin show in 1974, the first fruit of an unlikely alliance between a load of ex-British Leyland people who had worked on the Marina and the master Italian designer. A fledgling South Korean car industry had brought them together for its first mass-produced model to take on the world. At that time the world didn’t even know how to pronounce Hyundai. 

By the time the Pony reached UK buyers in the early ’80s, it had struck a chord with people for its smart looks, practical efficiency and low price everywhere from South America to Europe to Canada, where it was an overnight sensation.


So why is Hyundai saddling up its Pony again after all this time? Not because it is bringing it back, that’s for sure. What the firm’s designers have done instead is show us how it might have looked if it came out today by coming up with this “retro-modern reconstruction”. 

The basic shape is recognisable Pony – it being difficult to improve on a Giugiaro original after all – but there are all kinds of what Hyundai calls “cool trappings”: cameras for rear-view mirrors, pixelated LED lights, a matte silver body finish, digital touch transmission, space for a mobile phone and voice-activated steering wheel controls.


The Heritage Series Pony has been created as part of ‘Reflections in Motion’ exhibition at Hyundai Motorstudio in South Korea.

It all goes to show you can’t keep a great design down. But the less said about the Morris Marina the better!

  • Hyundai

  • Pony

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