Today’s Rare Ride is a small-medium sized five-door hatchback, and you’d be forgiven if you had no idea what it was upon first glance. It was only available to the fine people of Canada, and only for a short time.
It’s the Hyundai Pony, and it’s a beauty.
The rear-drive Pony model debuted in Hyundai’s lineup all the way back in 1975. As the first mass-produced car from South Korea the Pony project was particularly important, and Hyundai wanted to get it just right. So they called British Leyland.
Not joking! Hyundai hired the former director of Austin-Morris, John Turnbull, in 1974. They put him to work on their new car with relative carte blanche. He immediately hired five other British car engineers, including the car’s body engineer. It should be noted here that Turnbull was responsible for the development of the Morris Marina, oldÂ Top Gear’s favorite vehicle ever.
The engineering group sent their desires to Italdesign Giugiaro, and somehow Giorgetto Giugiaro approved this first generation five-door hatchback. Hyundai also borrowed innards from the Ford Cortina, and engines from Mitsubishi.
Immediate international success followed, in areas outside of North America. The second-generation Pony debuted in 1982, and became the first Korean car sold in the United Kingdom. By then, the Pony range had expanded into a pickup truck, three- and five-door hatches, a four-door sedan, and a five-door wagon.
Confident in their brand new Pony, Hyundai decided to ship it to Canada for a test run. The nation’s lax emissions laws intrigued Hyundai, as the Pony did not meet the more stringent Malaise-era United States standards.
Before it went on sale in the north, the Pony’s bumpers were swapped, the headlamps became sealed-beam units, and side-marker lamps were added. Hyundai wanted to be cautious with a new market, and estimated 5,000 annual sales for the introductory year of 1984. Canadians had other ideas.
Sales in that first year totaled over 25,000, as Canada proved to have an insatiable appetite for one of the cheapest cars on their market. One of the best selling cars that year, Hyundai continued to market the Pony in Canada until 1987. Interesting when one considers the Pony’s replacement, the Excel, was available starting in 1986.
The Pony continued on in various markets, dwindling until its final year in 1990, where it was sold only in South Korea. That would spell the end of rear-drive for Hyundai for quite some time.
This dishwater-colored Pony is located inÂ QuÃ©bec, and is asking the princely sum of $14,995 loonies. However, as the pictures indicate, it’s nearly new, and has just over 22,000 kilometers onÂ la horloge. Think that price is too high, or just reasonable enough for a collector? This Pony would seem an example of â€œIf you can find another in this condition, go buy it.â€�
It’s growing on me.
Addendum: Our own Matthew Guy brought a Canadian Pony ad to my attention. Check out the sweet discounts and boom mic!
[Images via seller]