Hyundai Grandeur Heritage Series: Celebrating ‘80s Flagship Model With a Modern EV Twist

The alluring thought of a modern reinterpretation of retro vehicles has become more and more widespread, in recent times, in the automotive industry, albeit for companies and car enthusiasts alike. Considering today's increasing demands for hybrid and electric drivetrains and the stringent trends to digitalize every aspect of vehicle operation, it may very well be the perfect timing for this kind of mindset shift.
Hyundai Grandeur Heritage Series 10 photos
Photo: Hyundai Motor
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A boxy machine with brick aerodynamics but with modern engineering and technology is undoubtedly enticing. Hyundai Motor and its designers felt the same, so they decided to pay an automotive tribute to their flagship model from the golden '80s era for its 35th anniversary, naming it the Grandeur Heritage Series. It is not the first time the company resurrected a past model to give it a modern reinterpretation, as the Heritage Series initially started with the Pony resto-mod coupe.

The first-generation Grandeur, co-developed alongside Mitsubishi Motors, was launched in 1986, in advance of the 1988 Summer Olympics, for which Hyundai Motor was an official sponsor. The international event was used as a marketing tool for the company's flagship model launch and soon became Korea's best-selling large sedan until it ended production in September 1992. It featured a front-wheel-drive construction and offered a selection of four-cylinder and V6 powerplants and a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic gearbox.

Hyundai Grandeur Heritage Series
Photo: Hyundai Motor
The exterior appearance of the Grandeur Heritage Series remains faithful to the original silhouette. The lighting system plays a fundamental part in the vehicle's design, Hyundai employing the same Parametric Pixel LED technology that made its way from the Ioniq 5 production model. Updates over the original 1986 model come in the form of the redesigned side mirrors, the covered wheels, or the slide cladding.

The retro-inspired narrative gets even more exciting once inside the vehicle. The "newtro" concept, as Hyundai implies it, makes good use of modern technology ("newness") and digital interfaces while still preserving the retro ambiance. For starters, passengers are greeted by period-correct bronze-colored ambient lighting that dates back to '80s hi-fi audio equipment. The entire interior space gets illuminated by two light rays originating from both sides of the dashboard, which meet the B-pillars in a beautiful highlight and reflect on the infinity mirrors.

The elegant ambient lighting is not the only aspect reminiscent of audiophile recollections from another era. The audio system itself is genuinely impressive, being a bespoke setup signed by a South Korean sound designer named Guk-il Yu, who created the "4way4" audio architecture, successfully implemented throughout the vehicle’s array of 18 speakers and two subwoofers. Furthermore, the dashboard and the center console are fabricated following strict acoustic concert hall standards. Besides, the system even offers a unique piano playing experience, available only when the Grandeur Heritage Series is stationary.

Hyundai Grandeur Heritage Series
Photo: Hyundai Motor
The seats are wrapped in '80s era burgundy velvet on the front and Nappa leather featuring decorative stitching and lacing on the backside. The beautiful intertwine between the elegant retro-styled craftsmanship, and modern technological amenities can be admired at its best when sitting in the driver seat. No more dials and buttons for this iteration of the first generation Grandeur, as they have been replaced with a generous ultra-wide dashboard-integrated touchscreen that perfectly complements the period single-spoke steering wheel and jet airplane-style gear selector.

The most remarkable of all is the vehicle's drivetrain of choice. Believe it or not, but the Grandeur Heritage Series features an all-electric construction, a huge departure from the traditional powerplants from back in the day. Certainly, not the last model in Hyundai's Heritage Series of unique EV builds, this project achieves a perfect balance between yesterday's golden highlights and the state-of-art technologies found on modern vehicles.

A highly commendable endeavor, we hope that Hyundai Motor will stay on track and continue expanding the Heritage Series of vehicles and maybe one day make some of them available for purchase. Until then, we can only guess which classic model will become the next redesigned retro machine that makes headlines and sparkle enthusiasts' imagination.
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About the author: Dan Marinescu
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Since his early childhood, Dan developed an avid passion for cars and, now he sees himself as a genuine petrolhead. His enthusiasm comes from his father, an automotive engineer. They love to reminisce about the days when his dad showed him the inner workings of an engine and why everything does what it does.
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