2023.02.09 Hyundai Motor Company

Hyundai’s Dream Team Completes The Galloper Restoration Project

Hyundai Motor Company
A Galloper, loved by a family, has been perfectly restored through the passion of Hyundai engineers. The faculties of this project talk about the behind-the-scenes story.

Recently in ‘Hang Out With Yoo’, a South Korean reality/variety show broadcast by 〈MBC TV〉, a special story was introduced: a man who wants to restore a Galloper that has been his father’s companion for the past 30 years. The ‘Hang Out With Yoo’ crew asked Hyundai, the manufacturer of this model, to restore his Galloper. It was a full restoration project for all parts of the vehicle, including the body, frame, powertrain, specs, and interior.

Restored by The Dream Team

The ‘Dream Team’, which consists of the best engineers who solve difficult vehicle problems at Hyundai Motor Korea’s high-tech center, was in charge of this project. Full restoration work takes at least a year, but thanks to their passion, his old Galloper was reborn like a new car in just 20 days.

The perfectly restored Galloper went viral; The episode was spread again on various websites. It not only stimulated many people’s nostalgia for Galloper, but also introduced the restoration work, which is still unfamiliar in Korea. Team manager Hong Do-young from North Hi-Tech Center and master craftsman Son Seon-ik from Hi-Tech Lab, who participated in the project, tell stories about their devoted work that was not previously told on the TV show.

Project Leader Talks About Galloper Restoration Process

Team manager Hong Do-young (left) and master craftsman Son Seon-ik who led the Galloper restoration project

Q. How did the experience you gained through your work help you in this project?

Team manager Hong Do-young | In the meantime, we have been conducting various technical consultations - technical support, high-level maintenance support, technical support and training for partners, etc. - and have been promptly responding to various issues. Currently, I am the group leader of the high-tech service team of Hyundai Motor North High-tech Center, and participated in this project as a manager. My experience has been a great help in the full-restoration of Galloper in a very short period of time.

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | I have been working for 27 years as a high-tech master craftsman at Hyundai Motor Company’s high-tech lab, and my work is prior research to improve maintenance technology, consulting on service technology, and responding to field issues. My main job is to analyze the cause of the problem in the customer’s vehicle and provide a solution, and I served as a technical advisor for this Galloper restoration work. In particular, in an unexpected situation, I tried to help by examining various ways to solve it efficiently.

the Galloper before restoration

Q. Why did you work at the South High-Tech Center?

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | The South High-Tech Center is the largest service center in Asia with a total floor area of 16,000 pyeong and is visited by 30,000 vehicles annually. The Seoul Global Learning Center, which is in charge of technical education in the building, and the Hi-Tech Lab, a maintenance technology research organization, contributed a lot to this restoration work. This project was carried out inside the Seoul Global Learning Center and Hi-Tech Lab, and thanks to this, we were able to focus solely on restoration without interfering with other customers’ vehicle maintenance work.

Q. How many people participated in the project? On what criteria were they selected?

Team manager Hong Do-young | A total of 24 people participated, including me and master craftsman Son Seon-ik, 22 service engineers, and 2 employees of H-startup Old Cars. I thought that the success of this project depended on excellent human resources above all else. Accordingly, with the support of all high-tech service organizations in Korea, engineers with both technical skills and passion were recruited. Those who worked in the Galloper maintenance team in the past, those who have special memories and attachments to Galloper, and those who know the field of old cars well all participated in this project with determination.

For reference, Old Cars, an H-startup, is a start-up supported by Hyundai Motor Group, and is a business team that quantifies the value of old cars. We thought that doing this project together with them would create a positive synergistic effect, so we asked them to participate.

Dream Team carrying Galloper Frames

Q. In the field of restoration, what kind of expertise do the project faculties have?

Team manager Hong Do-young | Since 2017, Hyundai Motor Company has conducted several H-restoration programs, a social contribution program. At that time, H-restoration moved everyone’s hearts by restoring an old Hyundai car to a new condition. Among our ‘Dream Team’ members, master craftsman Son Seon-ik participated in the H-restoration Santa Fe and Avante editions, and he imparted the wisdom he gained during this time in this project.

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | In the Dream Team, chief engineers Lee Tae-seong and Park Jang-ho, who had worked in the South Hi-Tech Center Galloper maintenance team since they were young, joined as the best Galloper specialist in Korea and showed tremendous ability. Thanks to their assistance to team manager Hong Do-young on this project, Galloper’s restoration could be further perfected

Q. The term ‘restoration’ is still unfamiliar to many people. How is it different from maintenance or car tuning?

Team manager Hong Do-young | If maintenance means focusing on restoring the function and performance of a vehicle to its normal condition, restoration means returning the entire vehicle to a new condition. In other words, the essential difference between maintenance and restoration is to go beyond making the vehicle operate normally and transform it into a new car condition from the outside to the inside. Tuning is a process of remodeling a vehicle according to the taste of the owner, and is different from maintenance or restoration, which maintains the condition at the time of purchase.

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | In the case of this Galloper restoration work, some ‘tuning’ - changing the diesel engine to gasoline - was carried out, but the entire project is a restoration because it was remodeled within the scope of the genuine Galloper gasoline model specification. Except for the powertrain modification, the rest of the structure was kept intact.

The interior of the Galloper is being dismantled

Q. What was the most important part of this restoration work?

Team manager Hong Do-young | It was time. Considering the broadcast shooting schedule, we had to complete all restorations in 20 days and pass a structural change inspection. In order to win the battle against time with a lot of variables, our dream team, made up of the best Hyundai Motors personnel, increased work efficiency through optimized process management.

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | The purpose of this project was to make the Galloper look like the customer first bought it over 30 years ago. We also wanted to fix this grade 5 emission car with its old diesel engine and replace it with a gasoline engine so he could drive freely in Seoul. The customer also requested that the embossed finish of the headlining and door trim, which was one of the common interior tunings in the 1990s, be maintained.

Galloper with major parts removed

Q. How did the actual work schedule go?

Team manager Hong Do-young | It took a total of 20 days from the day the vehicle entered the house, and the restoration work itself took 18 days. First, on the third day after we received the car, we disassembled it and restored the body, frame, and suspension. We were able to get important parts such as the gasoline engine, ECU, transmission, wiring harness, instrument panel, and fuel tank in just 7 days through the cooperation of suppliers and a close network with aftermarket companies. On the 18th day, all major work was completed, and on the 19th day, the structural change inspection was conducted and the final verification was carried out with a watertight test in the evening of the same day. On the 20th day we delivered the vehicle for shooting for broadcasting.

Initial engine room and major exterior panels

Q. How was Galloper’s condition when the restoration work started?

Team manager Hong Do-young | It was difficult to start the engine, and there was a strange noise when idling. In addition, leaks were severe in various parts such as the engine oil pan, crank seals, transfer case, transmission, and hoses; Corrosion was also severe. The steel plate at the bottom of the body was corroded and there was a risk of separation from the frame, and the muffler was also corroded, causing exhaust gas to leak and making unpleasant noises.

Prolonged exposure to UV light robbed the original color of the lamps and body paint, and the body molding was also detached. The steel bumper was dented by an external impact, and the fuel tank was severely corroded, making it difficult to safely store fuel.

Galloper’s body just before restoration

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | The suspension was also completely broken. The upper arm, lower arm, and ball joint were worn out and had a large gap, making it difficult to ensure driving stability, and the rear damper, which was supposed to prevent shaking, did not play its role due to oil leakage. There were many other problems, such as brakes being pushed, tires that were out of date, and wheels with brake dust.

The interior was also badly damaged. Various interior trims such as the artificial leather seat cover, door trim, headlining, crashpad (dashboard), and center console were also severely damaged. In other words, Galloper in this project had to replace or regenerate all parts from the tail to the face. On the bright side, there was no major accident, so there was no damage to the frame except for corrosion.

The ‘dream team’ discussing frame restoration

Q. What was the biggest difficulty in the restoration process?

Team manager Hong Do-young | The staggering schedule of completing the restoration in 20 days often pushed the Dream Team members to their limits. Nevertheless, our dream team continued to pour their passion while taking nutritional supplements, and as a result, we were able to successfully complete the Galloper restoration. Through this, we felt the importance of manpower and solidarity among people, gained valuable experience of sharing success, and even gained confidence that we can overcome any difficulties in the future.

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | Since it is an old model, it was difficult to secure parts. In particular, obtaining powertrain parts, including engines, was the biggest challenge. However, the dream team from all over the country had excellent network capabilities. Engineers Lee Kyung-soo, Jeon Byong-yeol, Lee Chae-hoon, and Shin Dong-hyun, who joined from Seoul, Busan, Jeonju, and Gwangju Hi-Tech Centers, did their best to contact Mobis dealers and aftermarket companies nationwide, and managed to secure the parts needed.

Galloper’s body being painted after sheet metal work

Q. How did the body restoration work?

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | Engineer Ko Jong-hwan and senior researcher Ryu Ji-hyun participated in the car body sheet metal work, removing some of the corroded parts and reusing others. In addition, thanks to former International Skills Olympics national delegate engineer Kim Jun-shik and chief engineer Choi Young-myeong, a judge of the skill competition, who gave up even weekends to work passionately, the painting process that took 2 to 3 weeks after sheet metal work was reduced in 3 to 4 days, giving more room to the entire restoration work schedule.

Corrosion-removed, anti-corrosion treated Galloper frame

Q. How did you restore the frame, which is difficult to remove corrosion and prevent rust?

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | Gallopers manufactured in the body-on-frame method have a vehicle identification number (VIN number) engraved on the body and frame. A vehicle identification number is like a social security number, and complicated paperwork is required to replace it. Therefore, we decided to restore the frame rather than replace it, and started working.

First, in the process of restoring the frame, we removed the fixing bolts and stuck bushings (rubber mounts that cancel out vibrations between the body and frame). Fortunately, there was no corrosion penetration in the frame, and there was no problem in securing durability as there was only surface corrosion and some contamination. After that, the corrosion on the surface was removed through sanding, and painting was done after rust prevention. Although, several members who worked outdoors at -14℃ got sick.

Galloper frame exposed to corrosion
Galloper’s interior materials before restoration

Q. It would not have been easy to restore the interior just by replacing parts. Is there a story behind it?

Team manager Hong Do-young | Some of the members of the dream team, including engineers Heo Seok-jae, Baek Kook-hyun, and Shin Hee-gwan, who participated in the restoration of the intestines, were young MZ generations who experienced Galloper for the first time through this project. However, based on the passion and skills of the Dream Team, the interior of the Galloper was able to be transformed into the pristine condition of the new cabin.

The interior of the Galloper restored to be close to that of a new car

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | Many parts of the interior trim were not in stock in Korea. Accordingly, among the existing interior trims, we tried to preserve the ones that could be saved as much as possible. Broken ones were attached, some were newly molded, and discolored or scratched interior trims were revived through special paint. Customers have been using artificial leather covers over fabric seats. Therefore, with the help of other companies, new artificial leather seats were made and installed so that customers could not feel the difference.

Q. There was a request from a customer to maintain the embossed finish of the headlining and door trim. How difficult was this task?

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | The headlining and door trim were embossed right after they were first released, and were worn out after a long time. I thought about exchanging it for a new one through this restoration work, but it was difficult to find the same pattern fabric and it was decided to restore it considering that it was the part stained with the customer’s hand. The damaged part was filled with fabric of a similar pattern purchased at Dongdaemun Market, and the remaining part was re-installed using leather polish after washing.

Engineer checking the wiring harness

Q. Wiring harness restoration is one of the biggest challenges in the general restoration process. How did the Dream Team manage this?

Team manager Hong Do-young | The wiring harness refers to wiring that transmits and receives electrical signals throughout the vehicle body, including the engine room and the interior. For this project, as the current diesel engine was replaced with a gasoline engine, related system components such as ECU, instrument panel, fuel pump, various control relays, and air conditioners were also changed. To support this, the entire wiring harness was replaced with that of the gasoline model, and connected through a new circuit to be compatible with current indoor electronic devices. This was where the Dream Team’s true skills stood out.

After installing a new V6 3000 engine, the intake manifold was engraved

Q. What is the new gasoline engine?

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | The newly installed engine in the restoration process is a V6 3.0ℓ engine (6G7) that was installed on the Galloper gasoline model. The difference from the genuine model is the new ‘V6 3000’ engraved on the intake manifold. Chief Engineers Lee Tae-seong and Park Jang-ho were in charge of getting a new engine, while engine work belonged to engineers Kim Jong-min and Lee Jin-hyun.

The V6 emblem attached to the radiator grille emphasized the meaning of restoration

In addition, engineers Kang Hyeon-gu and Jung Woong-tae highlighted the meaning of this project by attaching the V6 emblem to the radiator grille. For reference, the Galloper gasoline model was released in December 1991, but Galloper customers in Korea at the time preferred the diesel model, so it has become very rare now.

Instrument panel for gasoline engine

Q. Was there any difficulty in conducting the exhaust gas inspection after the structural change?

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | In order to get approval for the structural change, we had to change the business registration certificate of the South High-Tech Center where this project was carried out. This is because, in addition to the current auto repair business, it was necessary to add operators capable of remodeling (tuning) automobile performance. The structural change inspection was significant in that the performance of our dream team was certified by the government. On December 28, the day before the delivery of the vehicle, a structural change inspection was conducted, but the team members were frustrated when the car failed the emission test due to excessive nitrogen oxides in the first inspection.

The Galloper at the end of restoration

If the car didn’t pass the emissions test that day, the shooting would be delayed the next day, and the entire Dream Team, as well as the clients and the entire ‘Hang Out With Yoo’ faculties, would be disappointed. However, our dream team succeeded in 3 hours by using all networks to get a new catalyst, an exhaust gas purification device, and made ourselves proud by passing the re-examination with sufficient grades at 7:00 that evening.

Galloper in the final assembly stage

Q. How do you feel about this project?

Team manager Hong Do-young | I think it was an opportunity to grow by sharing the process of solving with the team whenever we encountered various difficulties during the restoration work. Above all, I am confident that the full restoration project, which usually takes more than a year, was successfully completed in such a short period of time thanks to our dream team, which showed dedication, consideration, and unity despite the cold weather and difficult environment.

A perfectly restored Galloper is being photographed before delivery to a customer

In addition, I am especially grateful to these people: Lee Bo-bae, Senior Manager of the Domestic Business Human Resources Team for gathering excellent engineers from all over the country, Kim Jin-hong, technical senior from the Hi-Tech Development Team 2, who provided quick judgment and full support, Kim Soo-gil, technical advisor at Hi-Tech Lab, who gave all possible advice on the restoration, and master craftsman Son Seon-ik. 

We, Hyundai Motor Service Engineers, are experts with a passion for automobiles and always do our best for customer satisfaction. In the future, we plan to build up excellent capabilities so that customers can use vehicles safely.

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik and engineers examining restoration materials

Master craftsman Son Seon-ik | We are grateful to the 〈Hang Out With Yoo〉 faculties for making a video of the project process and to the client who believed in us and allowed us to work on his Galloper. We want the client to be able to drive his Galloper happily and safely for many years. In addition, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the South High-Tech Center, High-Tech Incubation Center, and High-Tech Labs who fully supported the domestic business personnel office, venue and equipment for the project.

The encouragement and support of customers who watched the show was a great gift to us. Hyundai Motors executives and employees will continue to do their best to ensure that customers do not have any inconvenience in driving their vehicles.

Galloper restoration project faculties

Hyundai Motor Domestic Service Division: Kang Hyeon-gu, Ko Jong-hwan, Kwon Kyung-hoe, Kim Jong-min, Kim Jun-shik, Ryu Ji-hyun, Park Jang-ho, Baek Kook-hyeon, Seok Seong-joon, Son Seon-ik, Shin Dong-hyeon, Shin Hee-gwan, Lee Kyung-soo, Lee Jin-hyeon, Lee Chae-hoon, Lee Tae-seong, Jeon Byung-yeol, Jeon Hyun-wook, Jung Woong-tae, Huh Seok-jae, Hong Do-young, and Choi Young-myung

H-Startup Old Cars: Bae Sung-won, Won Myeong-won

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