The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi

CY Foong · Nov 21, 2021 12:00 PM

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 01

Here’s a quick question, what do Proton and Hyundai have in common aside from being the prime representatives of their respective nations’ car industry? If you answer both brands had Mitsubishi as partners during their early days, go get that celebratory half-hour break.

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 02

Now, this is how you should celebrate a 35-year-old car in 2021

Back from your break? Well, let’s get down to this cool Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept and it’s really how carmakers should celebrate their brand legacy. That goes for you too, tiger.

Also read: 2020 Proton Saga Anniversary Edition - all 1,100 units sold out in 5 days!

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 01

The Grandeur EV restomod is made to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Korea’s best-selling car of 2020 and it’s cool that the designers simply decided to keep the original 1986 shape intact.

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 02

After all, throwback seems to be all the rage these days in the automotive world along with electrification. Thus, Hyundai combined the best of both worlds by taking out the original Mitsubishi-sourced internal combustion engine for an electric powertrain.

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 03

Hyundai's throwback restomods, the Grandeur EV on the left and the Pony EV on the right

Hyundai has not revealed the power output nor the range of the Grandeur EV’s electric motor. This is also Hyundai’s second throwback restomod concept on one of its historical models with the first being the Pony EV, based on the company’s first original model.

Besides, the Grandeur is an important car in Korea and is portrayed in various old Korean movies as a choice of baddies. It is even featured in BTS member, Suga’s music video for one of his singles.

Also read: BTS explains the benefits of hydrogen power in new Hyundai documentary

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 04

The original Hyundai Grandeur

Even though the Grandeur was Korean, its launch wouldn’t be possible without the help of Mitsubishi and contrary to what many people think, it wasn’t really a rebadge. In fact, it was a collaboration of sorts.

A debonair diamond

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 05

Japan's grand luxury cars way back when (clockwise from top): Mitsubishi Debonair, Toyota Century, Nissan President

Mitsubishi had a flagship called the Debonair and it competed against the Toyota Century and Nissan President. Though the trio was outdated in terms of looks and technology, they were highly regarded among Japanese VIPs, and with such a small volume, there was no need for a successor.

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 06

Hyundai were known for making cheap, affordable cars like the Pony

Enter the 1988 Seoul Olympics and though Hyundai wasn’t a national carmaker with ties to a government, it wanted to show the world that the Koreans have what it takes to make a modern luxury car.

Also read: It’s time to stop using the term national cars to describe Proton and Perodua

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 07

Despite the Ford badge, it's actually built by Hyundai

This new project would be used to ferry various VIPs and delegates from all over the world. Its flagship at the time wouldn’t cut it as it was literally a Ford Granada built under license. So, Hyundai sought help from its Japanese partner to develop this new flagship.

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 08

A row of Hyundai Grandeurs that were used as official cars for the 1988 Seoul Olympics

As mentioned earlier, the three diamonds brand was not looking to replace its grandiose flagship but then Hyundai would throw a bone that convince the Japanese company to change its mind. The Korean chaebol would pay for a portion of the development costs and buy enough knock-down kits for a second-gen Debonair to happen.

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 09

Hyundai Grandeur (top) and Mitsubishi Debonair (bottom), even the hood ornament is retained on both cars.

Mitsubishi agreed and both the Hyundai Grandeur and Mitsubishi Debonair would make their debuts in July 1986. Just in time then for the 1986 Asian Games which was held in the Korean capital and acted as a lead-in to the Summer Games that will be held two years later.

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 10

People crowding around the Grandeur during its launch

The Grandeur turned out to be a smash hit in Korea and wrestled away the title from the Daewoo Royale as the country’s best-selling locally-made executive car.

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 11

Available with a choice of three engines – a 2.0-litre 4G63 inline-4 (120 PS/159 Nm), a 2.4-litre 4G64 inline-4 (130 PS/181 Nm), and a 3.0-litre 6G72 V6 (175 PS/250 Nm) – power was sent to the front wheels through either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic.

Not grand in Japan

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 12

Second-gen Grandeur (top) and third-gen Debonair (bottom)

The first-gen Grandeur continued to be on sale, mostly in Korea, until 1992 where it would be replaced by the second-generation model which was also sold as a Mitsubishi.

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 13

The very rare Debonair AMG

Unfortunately for Mitsubishi, the Grandeur’s success would not be repeated in Japan. The second- and third-generation Debonairs were sales flops even though the Three Diamonds sought help from AMG to dress up the second-gen Debonair.

Also read: 9 unlikely car collaborations – Toyota GR Supra, BMW M1, Galant AMG and more!

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 14

The Grandeur continues to be on sale until today and is currently in its sixth generation. The model was sold in Malaysia for the third and fourth generations where they were sold as the XG and Azera respectively.

Also read: Korea’s best-selling car is not the Hyundai Sonata, but something rarely exported

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 15

Hyundai Equus (top) and Mitsubishi Proudia (bottom)

Mitsubishi would continue to offer a flagship sedan model in its line-up with the Proudia/Dignity twin limousines replacing the Debonair. The first-gen models were also developed together with Hyundai which calls it the Equus and is vastly more popular in Korea than in Japan.

The success of the Equus would lead to Hyundai forming a luxury sub-brand of its own, under the Genesis brand.

Also read: What’s Genesis? Meet the Korean Lexus and a recent addition to the Sultan of Johor’s collection

The Hyundai Grandeur EV Concept is the coolest restomod based on a forgotten Mitsubishi 16

The design team behind the coolest restomod of 2021

But if this restomod tells one thing, it’s that though Mitsubishi helped to develop the first Grandeur, its popularity was more beneficial for the Koreans. One is a forgotten flagship sedan while the other became a cult classic with ties to that country’s pop culture.

CY Foong

Writer

Traded advertising for a career that fits his passion for cars. Enjoys spotting cars during his free time and has a soft spot for Japanese Kei cars but drives a thirsty manual sedan.

Comments

Up to 20% higher than average trade-in price

2021 Perodua Ativa 1.0L Turbo X

Upgrade

Add your car

Service powered by carsome

Latest Cars