Junkyard Find: 1987 Hyundai Excel

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1987 hyundai excel

Would you believe that the first-generation Hyundai Excel is now one of the rarest of Junkyard Finds? It’s true! The 1985-1989 Excel was so incredibly terrible— in my opinion, even worse than the Yugo— that just about every example in North America was dead and crushed by about 1995. In fact, in recent years I’ve seen more Crusher-bound Mitsubishi Cordias than early Excels. The closest I’ve come was this ’91 Hyundai Scoupe, based on the second-gen Excel and nowhere near as wretched as its predecessor.

With just over 100,000 miles on the clock, this car proved to be one of the most reliable first-gen Excels ever built.

Lesson to struggling automakers: If Hyundai can go from building excrementally bad cars to building very good ones in a mere 20 years, there’s hope for you!

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  • Lokki Lokki on Feb 16, 2012

    Ever late to the party, let me me toss something in the Detroit vs. Hyundai punch bowl. It's a matter of trajectory: Hyundai started out making slut-quality cars, but gradually reformed into nice-girl's. Detroit started out making nice-girl cars and then turned them into slut-quality. If you want to toss Lexus/Toyota into this - they started out with good-girls and then started dressing them up in beauty queen outfits. Got it? As for the quality of the early Excels, there were two secretaries working in my office (remember those days?) who bought them. I was interested in the Korean invasion - could they out-do the Japanese in value for the dollar? - so I'd chat these secretaries up in between meetings about how they liked their cars. At first both were happy, they really didn't have high expectations. However in the 2nd or 3rd year of ownership -both- cars had engine failures. Of course I don't know the details as the girls, ahem, ladies didn't either. One got stuck with a bill for an engine replacement. Hyundai tried to stick the other one with a bill too, claiming failure to regularly change the oil caused the problem. She managed to produce ALL her oil change receipts, and after a fight, got them to replace the engine. However all this took months as there weren't any available. So it's taken me a long time to rebuild faith in Hyundai, but they've almost done it. I would -consider- one. However GM has failed to convince me. Every new model is "the one" that shows that they've finally gotten it. However 3 years in the horror stories start again. Fortunately, by the 3 year mark they've got another "the one" really to give to the press.

  • Jozh_86 Jozh_86 on Nov 21, 2013

    I have a hyundai excel 4 door sedan in Guatemala with the odometer at 302.350 miles very good car daily and I do not fault anything! the problem with the American people they do not know anything even themselves to keep their cars in good condition and as they have money they buy another

  • Dukeisduke I tried watching the live reveal last night, but after 15 minutes of jawing by MT+ personalities (and yes, I like Chris Jacobs and Alex Taylor), I turned it off.
  • Paul MBAs gonna MBA.
  • Zipper69 Clearly beyond German thought processes to simply keep A for IC engine and use "E" for all other so you can have a A6 and a E6.
  • Ianw33 It makes me laugh how many complaints i see here in the comments section. Leave it to "car enthusiasts" to be unhappy with the fact that a mainstream auto manufacturer produced a 1K HP car with a warranty that isn't $250K+. can't we just be happy that something crazy/fun exists like this before its gone, even if its not your cup of tea?
  • YellowDuck This is a completely vulgar vehicle. I understand that that is the point, but still...pretty douchey.