Are cars alive? Do they have spiritually successors? When I was growing up I made a habit of gravitating toward the obscure. Well, more like I would gravitate toward things that my Dad and one brother didn’t like. It worked so well I ended up with a lifelong love of all things oddity, a concussion, and an eight-hour shift at a pretzel stand.
Confused? Allow me to elaborate. It was the mid 90’s and as I’ve talked about before jelly bean was all the rage in the automotive design world. My Dad was a Pontiac guy so by law my brothers and I were as well. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my 89 Grand Am and my 95 Bonneville but when something funky rolled out I was all about it. Enter the first-generation Hyundai Tiburon.
I still recall the commercials… “Tiburon, it’s something in another language for shark.”
Our local mall would host a rather large gala of local car dealerships, nestled in the heart of rural central PA, that would show off new cars they had in stock. This was my chance, I would get to sit in this funky little coupe and tout its awesome to all that would lend an ear. Being a Bonneville family I was unfamiliar with the concept of small cars. The last compact my family owned was my oldest brothers’ 78 VW Rabbit when I was 5 and I loved it. Why wouldn’t I love this?
Because it gave me a fucking concussion.
As I swung open the door that clearly resembled melted plastic I was eager to board. The roofline, however, had other ideas. I smacked my head right along mid ear hard into the roof. Why was I in such a hurry? Who knows. Being central PA there no one else but myself wanted to sit in this car, but still I was committed.
The concussion stayed with me till the closing of my shift at Bavarian, that’s the other pretzel stand. No amount of Advil granted reprieve and the American public granted no reprieve to the malformed Tiburon. A car that my father once claimed “looks like a tapered turd.” Yes, he was right but I still respected its funkiness even if it did give me a traumatic brain injury.
That isn’t what this post is about. I started by talking about spiritually successors. When I saw the first-gen Tiburon it seemed so familiar and alien at the same time. It didn’t hit me until today while browsing the Book of Faces. I follow a page called “Obscure Cars for Sale” and a great many followers of said page would kill me for this assessment. But the Hyundai Tiburon… it’s the spiritual successor to the AMC Javelin.
Honestly, besides the story there isn’t much to this article… but just look at the pictures and tell me I’m wrong. They are both ungainly and unnecessarily curvy in all the wrong places.
Hideously glorious. Two cars that represent both the height and rock bottom of design style in their age.