In 1975, Hyundai Motor Company launched Korea’s first automobile, the Pony. Korea’s automobile history began with Pony; The Korean automobile industry used to build cars by importing foreign models. However, after Pony, not only was there a Korean model, but it also developed into making a complete domestic car, from the design and manufacturing of all parts.
After being born with the dreams of engineers, Pony embodies the dreams of people. With its many strengths - stylish looks, economical drivetrain, and enough cabin space for a family of four to five - the Pony is well-deserved to be the vehicle for families dreaming of ‘our own car’. Moreover, with the addition of pickup and wagon versions, it became popular as a car for small businesses - and taxis as well. From the release of the Pony 2 in 1982 to its discontinuation in 1990, the Pony brought Koreans a lot of joy and happiness.
Today, 33 years after the discontinuation of the Pony, Hyundai Motor Company is looking back on the journey of the Pony with its customers. Hyundai Motorstudio Seoul held the ‘PONY, the timeless’ exhibition and held the ‘PONY, the timeless’ photo contest, where customers shared photos and stories of their memories with their Pony. About 3,600 entries and stories were received from June 1st to July 9th. Seven of them were selected for Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. Here are the stories of seven people with their Pony.
My mom bought this Pony when I was very young. This picture is the only picture my mom took of me in front of Pony at the time. This contest served as an opportunity to look back on the forgotten times after many years and to think of mother. My mother was single, never married, and she adopted me and took care of me. She sadly passed away at a young age from pancreatic cancer. However, when I look at the photos that have memories of my mother, I think she must have always smiled at me sitting in the seat next to her. I miss my mother so much. To me, this photo is a memory with my mother that I want to keep and cherish until the end. I had a lot of fun with my kids, seeing the little me posing in front of Pony. – Soyoung Jeon
I am a professional boxer. After participating in the 1992 Barcelona and 2000 Sydney Olympics, and winning the silver medal at the Busan Asian Games in 2002, I went to my hometown, Jinju, and opened a boxing gym. This photo was taken in October 1987, in my freshman year of high school. After winning my first gold medal in the high school light welterweight division of the 68th National Sports Festival, which was the biggest tournament in my boxing life at the time, I rode in a Pony pickup at the parade. So to me, Pony symbolizes my moments of joy and glory. I cherish this photo that still decorates one of the walls of my gym. – Gisu Choi
I am an old man in my 80s. I took out an album after 40 years. I bought a Pony when there were only 2,500 cars in Chungcheongbuk-do, including public and private cars - my license plate starts with 1 representing the region and is ‘A 2432’. Honestly, I couldn’t afford it, but I wanted a Pony, and I bought a Pony in installments because I wanted to travel with my family. The joy of owning a car still makes my heart beat. I had a car that I never dreamed of, and I couldn’t ask for more. I wanted to travel with my wife and two children, so I would wait for the kids’ vacation to start, then go camping in Haeinsa and Gucheon-dong, Muju, and brag about it. When I think of that time, my heart is filled with emotion. Time flies by and I am already at this age, but I miss the time when I was happy to see my happy wife and children while traveling, and felt very proud of myself for being a good husband and father. I’ve had several cars since then, but none of them made me as happy as having my first Pony. - Jeong-Gil Kim
I still have vivid memories of Pony as a child. My father bought a Pony as our family’s first car, used it for about 7 years, and then switched to the Pony 2. My family has so many memories of Pony. When my dad stopped the car after a long drive, the heat from the engine warmed the bonnet, and I remember my dad putting me on the bonnet and taking pictures in the winter. Many other memories also come to mind - going to my grandfather’s house on Thanksgiving for 10 hours in the Pony, waiting for a tow truck in the Pony 2 on the highway in winter after an accident, going to school in the Pony, and my father driving the Pony with me on his lap on a Sunday. - Joo-hyun Seo
My father was a poor refugee who fled during the Korean War, but he never stopped living his life, valuing honesty as the best virtue. And thanks to that, in 1979 he bought a Pony and became a taxi driver. When he first bought Pony in the picture, my mother shed tears, and my father in a yellow shirt walked around Seoul with Pony. Pony, who has been with my family for so many years, charred my dad’s left forearm, but thanks to that, my siblings and I graduated all the way to graduate school. The Pony was my family, brought food to the table, and even went on picnics with us on holidays. I miss our Pony, and I miss my dad. Thank you. I love you. - Younghwa Lee
One summer day in July 1987, my father and my brother took pictures with the Pony 2 pickup on our driveway. And 36 years later, in July 2022, my sons, and my brother’s daughter and son took a picture once again at the same place. Beyond a generation, it is to make memories with the Pony 2 pickup again. At first my sons asked why this car is so old, so this is how this picture was made. I looked through my photo album and showed him pictures I had taken when the car was brand new. Then my son looked at the photo and said that his grandfather also had no gray hair and was young. From the children’s point of view, they thought that their grandfather was an old man from the beginning. This seems to have taught them that everything changes over time. I want to continue to pass on the happy and precious memories I had with Pony in my childhood to my children. - Yongwook Shin
My name is Pony. From a young age to now as an adult, when people mention my name, everyone thinks of Hyundai Pony. The name was given to him by his father who was fond of Pony; Even my parents were asked if they were joking when they got my social security number, and this is indeed a unique and nostalgic name for everyone. This photo captures the moment when I happened to ride a Pony Taxi on my first trip with my family. It is a very meaningful time for our family, which was left as a memory of ‘Pony meets Pony’. Pony has been my life partner for 35 years. Pony, who has always been with Pony, is looking forward to the return of Pony. - Pony Sim
Pony Sim won the gold prize in the ‘PONY, the timeless’ photo contest. He received an IONIQ 5. The silver prize winner received a two-night stay at Jeju Haevichi Hotel, and the bronze prize winner received a set of Pony goods. Some of the photos submitted for this contest will be exhibited along with the story at Hyundai Motorstudio Seoul, where PONY, the timeless exhibition is held.
Unlike other awards, the awards ceremony for the ‘PONY, the timeless’ photo contest was like a small concert. First of all, seven winners came up on stage and read their stories, and about 200 people listened to the stories while watching the photos on the large screen on the stage, and went back to those days together. It was a moment to recall their happy memories and loved ones. Together with ‘Pony’ sung by Hyundai Motor Brand Heritage Project Ambassador Jannabi, who hosted the performance, it was time for everyone to travel to the past.
The story of the seven people and their stories of reminiscing about the time spent with their parents and children reminds us of the time we spent with our own families. Hyundai Motor Company says, “Pony is not just a car, it represents the old days and memories to the people of Korea,” and many agree.
At the end of the ‘PONY, the timeless’ photo contest, the automaker announced that it would reinforce people-centered innovation that accompanies its customers, reflecting on the meaning of Pony, which has been with its customers for a long time. The story with cars shines because there are people. Every car carries its own story and carries everyone’s dreams along with it. Even if the car is gone, the dreams and memories with the car remain. Many hope that everyone’s car will be able to carry more dreams and memories.
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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