Junkyard Find: 1991 Hyundai Scoupe

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1991 hyundai scoupe

Here’s another one for the “Whatever Happened To…” file: the Hyundai Scoupe. I’m in Southern California for a couple of days, prior to heading north with Judge Jonny to judge at the Skankaway Anti-Toe-Fungal 500, and decided to visit one of the junkyards that provided many of the parts for the ’65 Impala Hell Project. Right away, I find a car I’d forgotten even existed.

The Hyundai Scoupe was a crypto-sporty coupe version of the second-gen Excel; by this time, the Excel wasn’t quite as terrible as the worst car of the 1980s, including the Yugo, but it was still bad enough that just about every example was crushed before Bill Clinton left the White House. That makes this car a rare find indeed.

Imagine you’re a young car shopper in 1990, having to choose between a new Scoupe and maybe a three-year-old Plymouth Turismo Duster.

Could this be the last Scoupe in the world?

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3 of 56 comments
  • Marissar731 Marissar731 on Dec 09, 2011

    I actually have one :)

  • Richink Richink on Dec 12, 2011

    Anyone who has anything bad to say about these cars has either a) never owned one b) doesn't get what Hyundai was after with these or c) had unreasonable expectations. I love the well written diatribes that cut up these cars and several others with no relation, but you all miss the point entirely. A Hyundai Excel could be had for under $7k in 1991, one of these in a "Special Edition" model that had everything in it from a sunroof to a cd player (1991 wow options) was barely over $10k. You couldn't buy a base model Civic for that. Having worked in Hyundai dealerships at that time I can say from experience that the "talk" of Hyundai quality and durability being not up to snuff at that time was/is still a stinking pile of crap. The issue was almost always with customers. They were scraping the bottom of the barrel with people, most had never owned a new car, or were trading in their ratty 10 year old piece of schyte. I could tell you a thousand stories of abuse/misuse/wrong maintenance that lead to every issue under the sun. That said, those who knew how to properly maintain and drive a car never had an issue with any of these cars. We routinely saw them with 300,000+++ km; rust tended to be the killer more than anything else.

    • YuriiGT YuriiGT on Nov 01, 2012

      Absoulutely thumbs up for richink, I have already 3rd. Scoupe GT (turbo), and all its problems was caused by rust (here in europe its quite common problem) and bad maintennance or driving style (revving up the cold engine whit turbo and so on...). Its not comfortable, fast or representative car but i still love them :)

  • Arthur Dailey This car is also in my all time favourite colour combination for 1970s' Town Cars. The black exterior with the deep red (burgundy) interior. Even took my driving test in one. The minute that the driving examiner saw the car I knew that I had passed. He got in and let out a long sigh and started asking about the car. My Old Man always had a Town Car in that black/burgundy colour combination for 'business meetings' that required the use of a back seat for passengers. No way that his full sized associates could fit in the back of a Mark IV or V. So I also have quite a bit of driving time behind the wheel of Town Cars. Just add in the 450 cid engine and the 'optional' continetal hump and I would love to have one of these in my driveway.
  • Art Vandelay 15k for some old rusty 80s junk that is slower to 60 than the Exxon Valdez? Pass. Plus no TikTok on the old Mercedes
  • JMII I know people behind me get POed when I refuse to turn (right or left) depending on traffic. Even my wife will scream "just go already" but I tend err on the side of waiting for a gap that gives me some cushion. It's the better safe then sorry approach which can be annoying for those behind. Oh well.
  • Bobbysirhan Next thing you know, EV drivers will be missing the freedom to travel on their own schedules instead of their cars'.
  • Cprescott I'm not surprised by this behavior - it is consistent with how owners of Honduhs, Toyoduhs, or Mazduhs drive. Without fail, these are the consistently obtuse drivers on the road.