Harlekin Has a Special Meaning for Volkswagen

Multicolored Harlekin series was created by accident, and ended becoming a highly successful edition for Golf and Polo in the 1990s

After such a picture, the best way to start this topic is straightforward: the Polo Harlekin was exactly what you see. More than that, actually: there were four different combinations of those four colors. And yes, they went to the streets just like that. Now, are you wondering how did people react? Well enough to encourage Volkswagen to sell over 4,000 multicolored cars in Europe.

The plot twist comes right at the beginning: Volkswagen never planned to create such an edition. Secret Classics tells that the Polo had entered a new generation and the company wanted to create colorful print ads. A group of trainees decided to interchange parts between them and use those units on the ads, then the magic happened. People asked dealers and VW headquarters directly to buy such special cars.

UK-spec Volkswagen Polo Harlekin (source: WheelsAge)

How did the VW Group make the Volkswagen Polo Harlekin?

First, by taking one regular unit of each color from the production line. They were disassembled by hand at a separate facility, then reassembled following four schemes. Finally, the staff returned the units to the line to give them final touches as usual. The cars also featured exclusive upholstery with a “Harlekin” logo, blue steering wheel rim, and minor tweaks on the front and rear turn lights.

The initial plan was to produce 1,000 units with numbered certificate and numbered key ring. However, people wanted more and more and Volkswagen ended up producing over 3,800 units up to 1997. That figure included some export units, but none included the numbered amenities from 1,001 onwards. Mc Donald’s even held a prize draw of 500 units to mark its 25th anniversary in Germany.

The Polo’s success encouraged Volkswagen to expand the recipe. The Mexican branch did the same to the Beetle, named Vocho there, while the US had 264 units of the Golf shown above. Unfortunately, as Motor Biscuit reports, demand was too small for the latter. Last year, the company paid tribute to the original car by releasing a 2021 edition of the Polo Harlekin with parts painted in the same colors.

Frequently asked questions

How much is a VW Harlequin?

In Germany, the 1995 Polo Harlekin had a base price of 22,795 DM. The 2021 model was simply a one-off project with no intention to go on sale.

What colour is a VW Harlequin?

“Colors”, you should have asked – they are famous for using each body part in a color from a total of four. In the German catalog, they are Chagallblau, Flashrot, Ginstergelb, and Pistazie.

What is a Harlequin VW?

It is a special edition which Volkswagen created initially for the Polo in 1995. Its main feature was the multicolored body parts. It became successful enough to motivate the company to extend it to the Golf in the US and the Beetle in Mexico.

What model is the VW Harlequin?

The limited edition was originally made for the Polo in 1995. However, its success encouraged Volkswagen to extend it to the Golf for the US and to the original Beetle for Mexico over the following years.

When was VW Harlequin made?

The initial edition was presented in 1995, but the final units were delivered in 1997.

Why did VW make the Harlequin?

It was not on purpose. Volkswagen was originally making a print ad campaign with cars in regular colors to showcase key items of the all-new Polo for 1995. A trainee team decided to mix body parts of different colors and customers began to ask Volkswagen to buy those cars.

How many Harlequin VW are there?

Volkswagen produced over 3,800 units of the Polo Harlekin and 264 units of the Golf Harlekin. The Beetle also had this edition in Mexico, but there are no official production figures for it.

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