By on October 31, 2012

The first-gen Hyundai Excel was sold in the United States for the 1986 through 1989 model years, and it was a supremely bad automobile. So bad, in fact, that most of them were used up and crushed by the middle of the 1990s. Because of their rarity today, I always photograph early Excels when I see them (including this ’86, this ’87, and this ’88). Hyundai did a fairly extensive cosmetic facelift for the 1990 Excel, and this generation was sold though the 1994 model year. The second-gen version was much more reliable than the first— it would have been hard not to improve upon the fantastically crappy 1986-89 Excels— but by that time just about everybody knew to stay away from the model. That makes these cars even harder to find than the initially-hot-selling first-gen Excels. Here’s a ’93 that I spotted at a self-service yard in Denver.
A modern EFI system on the licensed-from-Mitsubishi engine helped a lot.
This car barely cracked six figures on the odometer, but that’s still a lot better than most of its predecessors.

Here we see a happy South Korean family getting all schmaltzy with their ’93 Excel.

Just a decade before, South Korean car ads were much more macho, as seen in this Daewoo Maepsy ad.
By the time of the second-gen Excel, you could get a sporty coupe version (called the Scoupe in North America and the S Coupe in Europe). I’ve managed to find just one junkyard Scoupe since beginning this series.

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14 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1993 Hyundai Excel...”

  • avatar

    I can only assume the woman was driving in the ad because the husband had a much larger car, and this was the car he bought her to tote around the kids.

    But hey I guess with women getting the vote less than 5 years before then, they could do more things!

    This car is offensively bad, and I hate everything about it.

  • avatar

    Quick! Identify the camshaft on the driver’s seat!

    Too late: Honda V6, C30 or C32 DOHC from an NSX, either intake or exhaust cam.

    (Thought it might be a Mitsubishi MIVEC cam, but the only V6 DOHC MIVEC appears to have been used in the Pajero Evolution, which would be very thin on the ground in the US — pretty close to non-existent)

  • avatar

    If internet usage had been as common at the time this thing was new, I wonder how many sights would have been running a Hyundai death watch?

  • avatar

    I will still say that a stick shift stripper model Scoupe was not a bad car for a nice looking economy coupe. In typical USDM spec of AC + PS + AT, it would probably be mostly excruciating to drive as the accessories and powertrain losses would eat away any usable power that poor little 1.5L Mitsu had.

    • 0 avatar

      I sold new Hyundai’s 10 years ago, and I had a girl trade in her 90’s era Scoupe in on a new Hyundai. She must have been super loyal to Hyundai, because that Hyundai Scoupe was absolutely worn out in every way. I remember driving it to my used car managers office for an appraisal, and I noticed how I could feel every single possible movement of the suspension system from the tires all the way through every steering/suspension component in the steering wheel. Damn car had the best “road feel” of any car I have ever driven in my life.

      My manager looked out the window and appraised the car at 50 cents.

      She drove off in a new 2001 Tiburon that same day.

  • avatar

    Haha, scoupe. I remember that

    or at least i remember reading about it

  • avatar

    Drove one of these (think it was probably a ’93)on a long road trip with a friend while in college – it was her new car. We drove all the way from Kansas out to Connecticut to see a girl I was kinda’ sorta dating (the car’s owner was a good friend of hers).
    Few things stick out in my mind, It was pretty much brand new and even in 93′ didn’t have a stereo in it. Total stripper, roll up windows, etc. I happened to have a car stereo sitting around (I was away at college w/ no car) so like any ridiculous college student I thought it was important enough to spend a few hours installing a stereo temporarily for the trip. The other huge thing was that it was a manual with only 4 gears. No problem with driving a manual, but averaging 75-80 mph for a good portion of the trip meant we were probably around 4500-5000 rpms in 4th gear. Now that I think about it I’m pretty sure I was gauging that number by sound alone b/c if I remember right it didn’t even have a tach. Never met a car that could have used a 5th gear more than that one. Even with buzzing the hell out of the engine like that I bet we were still getting in the mid-40’s for gas mileage. We even slept in it for a good chunk of the night on an ill advised “oh, we’ll just drive straight through” on the way home.
    Pretty much a perfect car for a college road trip. Good memories.

  • avatar

    I’m surprised the stereo is still in there, and the interior is almost completely intact.

  • avatar

    I’m not surprised no parts are sold, no one wants any!

    • 0 avatar

      More like nobody needs any. This car & its friends from this era are destine to be like the Nash Metroplitan or a great many Ramblers, they survive simply because some skinflint was also anal retentive about keeping their car pristine.

      I knew somebody with the next gen after this, still a stripper but honestly it was no worse than a corolla or civic from that era at the very bottom. The engine wasn’t as refined and suspension was so-so but it really wasn’t a horrid car like this generation was.

  • avatar

    There was a next generation. It was the Accent in 95.

    My friend has one as well. Bought stripped, in black, under 7 grand.

    He drove it until 2 years ago. 40 mpg, rarely gave him an issue, 200k+ miles. He sold it for $800 to his Hyundai serviceman.

    It was an acceptable car and he got his monies worth.

    Wish there was a simple under 8 grand car out today, might be doable with a new Accent if there was some incentives, although they are a little different engineering wise.

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