Images from the brochure collection of the author.
An old Hyundai on Hemmings? Hear us out. Few today would question that this South Korean automaker is now a major player in the American new-car marketplace, selling more than 75,000 vehicles in July alone. But it didn’t start out that way.
While Canadians and Europeans had known Hyundai cars for years, it wasn’t until 1986 that Americans were properly introduced to the Excel. This Mitsubishi-based budget entry was a big seller, and although it was short on style and performance, it established the automaker as a value proposition that continues to this day. The first model to step away from the bare-bones utility of the Excel sedan and hatchback was the two-door Scoupe, which launched here in 1990 for model year 1991.
This car featured a mélange of contemporary styling trends: It wore Acura Legend Coupe-style fender blisters and the blacked-out C-pillars seen on Ford’s Probe and the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Inside, the simple dashboard combined features like optional air conditioning and a 50-watt stereo cassette and CD player. The mechanical package was similar to the Excel, with a multi-port fuel-injected 1.5-liter four cylinder making 81 horsepower and 91 pound-feet of torque; suspension was independent all around, and power front disc/rear drum brakes were standard on base and upmarket LS models. LS models also got a standard trunklid spoiler, 14-inch Michelin radials, power steering, power windows and plusher carpets, while alloy wheels and a removable sunroof were available on both trims. The motorized mouse belts were typical of the day.
A 115 horsepower turbocharged Scoupe would join the lineup in 1993, that model being powered by what Hyundai claimed was Korea’s first manufactured engine, the 12-valve, turbocharged 1.5-liter “Alpha.” The Scoupe hung around in showrooms until the fall of 1996, when it was replaced by the boldly-styled Tiburon.
Now back to the brochure at hand. Like the Mercury Capri brochure we’ve shared before, this piece offers a fun glimpse of period youth style that gives this author flashbacks to high school. Those clothes, those hairstyles!
How can 1991 be a quarter century ago? And when was the last time you saw a Scoupe on the road?
Click on the brochure images below to enlarge.