While the first-gen Excel may be one of the rarest 1980s cars in North America nowadays, we can jump into the next decade and find another Hyundai that's nearly as hard to find: the Scoupe.

While Saddam was gearing up for The Mother of All Battles, Hyundai was improving on the Excel--the bar was set Death Valley-low for that goal--and selling a sporty coupe based on the second-gen version.

I hadn't thought about the Scoupe (pronounced "scoop" in North America and "ess-cooPAY" in the UK) for many years, but then I ran across this doomed example in a Los Angeles junkyard last week.

Hyundai makes some excellent cars these days, so it's hard to recall how truly terrible their efforts of two decades back really were. Back then, Hyundai was hoping that the Scoupe would add some luster to their "Korean hooptie" image, running TV ads like this '80s-aren't-over-yet one.


project didn't really work out, so Hyundai had to wait until the Tiburon for some quasi-credible sportiness to stick to their image. To me, that makes the underpowered, dorky-looking Scoupe appealingly collectible. You can still find Scoupes, since they held together a lot better than the early Excels, and I think one would look great parked next to the Trofeo I plan to buy.