Hyundai previews future EV styling with ‘45’ concept

At the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, Hyundai will present a look into the future of its upcoming EV design language with the debut of a new EV concept: the 45 (embellished with fancy brackets). To start drumming up interest, the Korean automaker dropped a teaser image of the concept’s rear end. Wearing an evolution of Hyundai’s current “Sensuous Sportiness” design theme the 45 will presage the future of electric Hyundais while simultaneously celebrating the company’s heritage.

Hyundai says that the new EV concept is “inspired by looking back at the brand’s first model in the 1970s.” The teaser image of the 45 does have a vague similarity to the Giorgetto-Giugiaro-designed Pony hatchback, Hyundai’s first fully in-house product, particularly around the hatch’s fastback rear glass and vestigial rear deck. The Pony was quite an international cocktail, with Italian styling, a drivetrain sourced from Japan’s Mitsubishi, and engineering courtesy of refugees from British Leyland.

The Pony, however, first went on sale in 1975, so the math doesn’t quite add up—or rather, subtract. My hunch is that the sleek-appearing 45 pays tribute to another Giugiaro-penned design named Pony.

Subtract 45 from 2019 and you get 1974. While the production Hyundai Pony was first introduced at the 1974 Turin Motor Show, it seems to me that the Pony Coupé concept, another Giugiaro design at the same show, may be the 45’s true spiritual ancestor.

The 1974 Pony Coupé concept actually started out as an independent project at Italdesign. Based on Pony mechanicals and floorplan, it originally bore the title Asso di Fiori (Ace of Clubs), a name that Italdesign would reuse five years later on a completely different car. On the eve of the Turin show, Hyundai executives embraced the freelance concept and slapped on the name Pony Coupé.

We’ll be able to tell exactly which Pony inspired the styling of the new Hyundai EV concept when it goes on public display September 10–22, 2019, in Frankfurt.

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