Nowadays, we associate Volkswagen with sporty hot hatches like the Golf GTI or Golf R. While the famous VW Beetle might be a thing of the past, it lives on with the peppy ID. Buggy. However, Beetle enthusiasts have it slightly easier than fans of the exceedingly rare Harlequin Volkswagen Polo.
Spelled like “Harlekin” in German, this vehicle is considered the holy grail of Volkswagens for its unique rainbow coloring. The Drive was excited to report that an imported model from Europe finally went to auction, but would you buy it? Let’s go over the history of this particular Polo color and why it’s such a big deal.
The history of the Harlekin VW Polo
According to Consumer Guide, the Volkswagen Polo got the Harlequin color option for a limited run of 60 American models. To create that exclusive rainbow shade, VW started with a Polo in a single red, blue, green, or yellow color. The manufacturers would then switch the body panels out in various color combinations with the other three colors.
The process was very time-consuming, which is likely why so few were produced. The only parts that could not be modified were the roof, rocker panel, and C-pillar. On top of its $16,730 fully-loaded price, the Harlequin paint added another $150.
As such, top Harlequin VW Polos came with air conditioning, a CD changer, a power glass sunroof, and anti-lock brakes. It’s powered by a 115-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission.
Demand for the Harlequin Polos was so great that VW put in an order for 200 more vehicles. However, dealers had some trouble moving every single extra model of the lots. Nowadays it’s a strange thought considering the lengths some people will go through to hunt one down. VW says that a total of just 3,100 Harlequin Polos were produced worldwide.
Is the Harlequin Volkswagen Polo worth buying?
According to The Drive, the latest Harlequin Polo in North America is built with a green body shell. It’s complemented by red for the hood and rear doors, plus the rear bumper. The grille and front fenders are yellow. Finally, it gets deep blue for its front doors, front bumper, and tailgate. All Harlequin Polos also came with a quirky Joker interior, integrating these four colors onto the cloth seats.
The exterior paint and interior are original, and both look to be in excellent condition. The doors have barely noticeable dents, but there are a few spots of rust visible. This Polo also has a unique Harlequin shift knob, and the original blue-rimmed steering wheel is included with the sale.
However, the wheel has been replaced with a Renown steering wheel in the actual car. This particular Harlequin has also received new suspension components and a new audio system.
Most importantly, the seller says the vehicle still drives well with no issues. Ross Cupples, who owns a few Harlequin Polos himself, says a mint-condition model usually goes for around $10,000. However, this auction ended at nearly $12,000, proving that demand for this model is alive and well.
VW’s modern Harlequin Polo
VW got everyone’s hopes up when it teased a modern Harlequin Polo as a concept car, reports The Drive. Sadly, this is only a one-off that will probably make its way to a museum in the Netherlands. Still, it’s nice to see the unique color scheme against the updated curvature of the latest VW Polo.
We understand that the Harlequin Volkswagen Polo isn’t for everyone, but chances are you at least cracked a smile looking at it. Whether it was from genuine delight or for the sake of poking fun, the car is nonetheless a conversation starter.