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The Hyundai Stellar: An old Ford Taunus

Hyundai Stellar
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Collecting classic Koreans has not yet taken off. That is of course a bit because, for example Hyundai, was not put on the market as extremely exciting.

The Stellar: A great Korean

In 1984, the then introduced Stellar was a lot for a Korean. This first generation ran until 1987. In line with the Pony 1 and Pony 2, the Stellar was just as much car for little money. But then in large. The Stellar was based on that good old Ford Taunus / Cortina after Ford himself had served it as obsolete. With that, the Stellar was in the same financially technical-emotional class as the Lada, which, even with headlamp wipers, was still nothing more than a Fiat 124 resurrected from the dead.


They shared their razor-sharp price, their low status and a very substantial initial debit. But it may be said that the Hyundai Stellar for us, Westerners, is much more like real car was seen. He soon proved to be just as reliable as the Koreans had already proven with Ponies. He could also rust well.

The Hyundai Stellar was there with an 1.400 and an 1.600 cc engine. About the most expensive version, the 1600 GLS Prima was bickered. Because Fiat had the rights to the name 'Prima'.

However, an overhead camshaft, rather not much speed

In the Stellar was the same Mitsubishi G32B engine that was already known from the Lancer. There was also an entry-level model with the 1.439 cc engine from the Pony. The 1.597 cc, with a single timing belt-driven overhead camshaft, was factory-specified for 100 hp. Apparently Korean horses are smaller or something. The European brochures stated that the engine delivered 75 hp. He did that in an exemplary way. That block was fine, but a bit noisy.

Despite the overhead camshaft, the 1600 four-cylinder didn't like revs. After the four-cylinder was a four-, a five-speed or an automatic transmission. The five-speed gearbox (from Japan) turned out to be an excellent choice. Top gear was a clear 'overdrive'. At the time, it was a lot: Hyundai gave a three-year warranty on block and box. The Hyundai Stellar's brakes demanded a firm footing, but they did a fine job for their time. The Stellar had front discs and rear drums. When braking, the body wanted to dive and wobble, but even with emergency stops, things remained neatly aligned.

Thanks to the Ford Taunus

To keep the wobbling and use of the dated chassis under control, other springs, dampers and tires (Michelins) were mounted on the cars exported to Europe. That saved a sip on a drink. And all on a chassis that was 100% identical to the old Ford Taunus with its double wishbones at the front and the live axle at the rear. The rear axle was held in place by four reaction arms, the middle two of which were mounted in a triangular shape. All in all, a good chassis that in 1984-1985 already provided what was described as 'an old-fashioned handling'. 'Old-fashioned' as in 'dated'.

Quite rare, not expensive

Time has learned that selling the Stellar for Hyundais has done what was expected of him. Historically, he was the first great Korean and a testament to the quality of the cars from that country. There are very few left. And those survivors, even as ZGAN former 'church wagon' from Grandpa's legacy, are worth very little. Is that perhaps a nice pass?

A Ford chassis with a Mitsubishi block
The inspiration for this text. In the wintry Achterhoek

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