The Hyundai Coupe is Korea’s first classic car

P1040529IMAGINE being able to buy a Ford Capri 2.8 Injection for just £350.

That’s exactly what an old friend of mine did 15 years ago – and I bet he wishes he’d never sold it on. Fast forward to 2016 and this fast Ford easily commands another zero on the price he paid. Another two zeros, if it’s a really low mileage minter and recent auction prices are anything to go by.

Yet that £350 price – what you might pay for a weekend away on the continent or a half-decent garden shed, don’t forget – is where the Hyundai Coupe all too often resides these days. At the time of writing there’s a chap up the road from me flogging his for that sort of money, and it’s tricky not to get tempted.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not for a second suggesting a slightly shagged Hyundai is going to get the same sort of cult following that’s driven Capri prices up to the point where they cost the same as a new 3-Series sometime in the early 2030s. But I do reckon it’s one of the two-door contenders to watch out for, because I can’t think of a stronger claim for the case of being Korea’s first card carrying classic.

Think about what else Korea was offering us snobbish Brits when the first-generation Coupe landed here in 1996. The Kia Pride, for instance, or the Daewoo Espero. Miserable motors with all the charisma of an industrial park in Derby, and while they were cheap and reliable they did absolutely nothing to stir the soul. Even the outgoing Scoupe didn’t exactly give the likes of Fiat’s Coupé and the Vauxhall Tigra sleepless nights.

Yet out of nowhere there was this swoopy two-door with snazzy alloy wheels and Coke bottle curves tempting us onto Hyundai’s forecourts. There was even a rally version, and Hyundai capitalised on its two-doors appearances in the Formula 2 class of the World Rally Championship with its F2 and F2 Evolution models in the late 1990s.

And yes, I know Hyundai might have dropped the ball a bit at the turn of the millennium with one of the most cack-handed facelifts ever devised, but it picked it right up again when it brought out a second-generation model which managed to shrink everything that was right about the Ferrari 456GT.

Neither model had anything like the Capri’s cult following – in which case I’ll point you in the direction of Ford’s Puma, which is equally bargain basement right now – but it’s hard to deny the Hyundai Coupe was a great car.

You might laugh now, but I honestly reckon this is as cheap as Korea’s first genuine classic is ever going to get.

hyundai rally car


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