Hyundai Pony Coupe (ItalDesign), 1974 Giorgetto Giugiaro
Pony Coupé is a successful experiment: very slim and extremely graphic surface treatment and the adoption of the bumpers painted in body color, draw the Asso di Picche. The interior is probably the most successful of the early Italdesign's prototypes. The dashboard is cylindrical, while the seats remind some container objects of industrial design than a car.
When Hyundai wanted to develop their own car, they hired George Turnbull, the former Managing Director of Austin Morris at British Leyland in 1974. He in turn hired five other top British car engineers, Kenneth Barnett body design, engineers John Simpson and Edward Chapman, John Crosthwaite as chassis engineer and Peter Slater as chief development engineer. With Turnbull's experience with the Morris Marina (see Korean connection), engines and transmissions from Mitsubishi, some parts from the Ford Cortina they were already producing, and a hatchback body styled by Italdesign Giugiaro, they developed the Hyundai Pony.
The Pony was presented at the Turin Motor Show in October 1974, and the car was introduced in December 1975 as a 4-door sedan to compete with the Saehan Gemini and Kia Brisa. A pickup version was added in May 1976, a station wagon in April 1977, and a 3-door hatchback in March 1980.
Hyundai began exporting the Pony to Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Egypt from 1976 until 1988. Sales in the United Kingdom began in January 1976, making it the first Korean car to be sold there with further exports to Europe from 1978 to Belgium and the Netherlands. Later on, the Pony was exported to Greece.
The 1.2 L (1,238 cc) 4-cylinder engine and the 1.4L (1,439 cc) produced 67 bhp. The 1.4 GLS was tested by the British car magazine Motor and top speed was 92 mph with acceleration 0-60 mph in 15.3 seconds