Owning A Little Piece of VW History - Other Cars Forum

Forum Post / Reply
You must log in before you can post or reply to messages.
Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 3:18 PM
Back when I first got into Volkswagen in 2003, I was primarily a Mk2 GTi/Jetta GLi kind of guy. I loved the old boxy body styles of that time, along with their go kart-like handling and bulletproof 1.8L 8v motors. But one car I did discovery stood out from the rest, and changed my outlook. A car so bright that Ray Charles could see the @!#$. I'm talking about the Mk3 Golf Harlequin. For those that don't know what this little guy is, it's a basic 4-door Golf GL, but with a twist. The exterior is four different colors; Tornado Red, Chagall Blue, Ginster Yellow, and Pistachio Green, with each body panel being a different color. This color scheme/pattern earned it the name Harlequin, another word for "jester", or "clown". The way it works is they took four cars in each color, set them all side by side, then swapped all the unboltable panels around between them, gave them a production number, then sent them off. Pretty simple, right? And because of how it's done, there are four different patterns to be found based on the base/chassis color. And given the deliberate nature of the car, all of the patterns are the same. An example being every red-based car's panels will match each other, like the hatches being yellow, the rear bumpers being green, etc, so these aren't just thrown together. There are some people so dedicated to these cars that they can look at one and instantly tell you if a certain panel is the wrong color, which such scrutiny usually pops up in sale ads with astronomical prices.

So at this point, you're probably asking yourself, "What's so special about a base Golf that looks like it was pieced together from junkyard parts?". And that, my friend, leads to the aforementioned production number. This was an extremely limited run in 1996, with only 264 of these made, and are numbered via the VIN. This makes it the rarest water-cooled production Volkswagen has made. For a lot of people, especially, VW enthusiasts, this gives it a higher level of prestige, given that it's technically a collectible. And with this brings in a commanding price tag, usually in the 5-7k (present time/market) range for an average car, some go for even higher if it's been well-kept, low-mileage, and has documentation on everything (one guy is currently asking 1k less than the sticker price when it was new). And because of this, and their rarity, I gave up on ever owning one... Until now.

SPECS:
1996 Volkswagen Golf Harlequin #41
2.0L 8-valve 5-speed manual
Pistachio Green-base
195k miles
35mpg

MODS:
Raceland Ultimo coilovers
H&R 25mm spacers (rear) with extended lug bolts
14" VW Orlando alloys
Hella Magic blue taillights
Momo Benetton-style steering wheel and shift knob (not installed)
Sony cd player

FUTURE:
paint and light body work ASAP
wheels (undecided, either Brock B2s or Fifteen52 RML Snowflake reps; both are 16x9)
5-lug and rear disc swap
Neuspeed front and rear strut bars and anti-roll bars
Neuspeed CAI
Remus after-cat exhaust
GTi dual-chamber headlights
GTi VR6 euro-spec front lip and side skirts
white needles for the gauge cluster, as well as a grey cluster surround and custom harlequin-colored bulbs
Hella Magic green turns/dummies
custom drilled dice for door lock pulls (harlequin themed)
VW Color Concept door cards
VW Polo Harlekin head rests

Brief history on the car: I'm the fourth owner. The original owners were an older couple who traveled a lot, towing the car behind their RV (hence the high mileage). They converted the car from automatic to manual. A run of the VIN confirms the car to be #41. It was sold through Jim Ellis VW out of Atlanta, the biggest VW dealership in North America. While the Olympic Games 96 were going on there, the dealership loaned five Harlequins out to VW reps who attended the games. My car was supposedly one of the rentals.












A shot from inside my Passat on the way back from picking up the clown car lol



Big thanks to Fluffy for riding up with me and driving the Passat back, as well as inspecting the car like the VW Einstein you are.




R.I.P. JessE Gerard 7.11.87 - 1.25.08
The Radiation Nation Facebook Twitter Twisted Metal Alliance

Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 6:00 PM
I always wondered what was up with the multi color vdub thing....thanks for the knowledge drop.









Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 6:26 PM
Always loved these. Never knew the back story of how they came to be.
Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 8:52 PM
Cool! I pass Jim Ellis all the time, had no idea it was the largest VW dealer in the US. The whole olympic thing is cool too. No idea why. But very cool.



Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 11:51 PM
Yeah, I didn't realize that myself until I did some serious homework on the car. And since Jim Ellis is the largest dealership, they received the most Harlequins to sell... twelve. Rumor even says that Jim Ellis himself kept a red-base for his personal collection. There were also a ton of other rumors that floated around for years before being debunkted, like the car being built as a tribute to Ringling Bros. Circus, or that the cars were specially made for the reps from VW Germany so they had promo cars to drive around Atlanta during the Olympic games. A little bit more knowledge bombs...

- Pistachio Green and Chagall Blue are euro-only colors, not available in North America... except on the Harlequin. And Ginster Yellow was only available on the GTi, not the Golf.
- A lot of dealerships had trouble selling these, and ended up respraying them one color. So if you're ever looking to buy one, seriously dig deep on any 96 Golf GL you find. Several people from VWVortex found theirs on complete accident. In fact, there's one up north right now for 5k that was resprayed Slate Grey. But when you open the doors, hatch and hood, it's all yellow underneath from where they left the jambs and engine bay alone, revealing that it was originally a yellow-base Harle.
- One of each color left the factory without their panels swapped around. So if you see a 4-door Golf in Chagall Blue, Ginster Yellow, or Pistachio Green, you just found a hidden Harlequin. Or someone who spent a ridiculous amount of money to paint their car. But since Tornado Red is a popular NA-spec color, those are much harder to dig around. Another dead giveaway are the seats. They come in a special pattern that only came in the Harlequin, known as the Joker seats, based on the Golf Joker from Europe.
- According to RossVW, a site that has a registry for all known Harlequins (production number, current owner, current location, base color, and transmission), there are four confirmed dead. One was just saved a couple of weeks ago from being added to the kill list, and one is presently being battled over between it's owner and State Farm, who wanna total it over a dented rear quarter. The girl has already hired a lawyer and is ready for war lol.

Thanks Mike, I'm glad I was able to educate some people here. Given their rarity and locations, most people, especially younger kids, don't really know these things. Although I'm sure some of the older guys, who had their licenses back in the mid 90s, would remember promos and coverage from the Detroit Auto Show where the car was first revealed. But hell, three posts in and no flaming. I'm shocked and excited lol. It really is a love it or hate it car, though, so I'm sure there'll be some negativity... Which I'm prepared for.




R.I.P. JessE Gerard 7.11.87 - 1.25.08
The Radiation Nation Facebook Twitter Twisted Metal Alliance
Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Thursday, December 13, 2012 4:04 PM
interesting info

But That things is nasty ugly!!!

I hope that future paint work includes a solid color all over!!



FU Tuning



Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Thursday, December 13, 2012 4:34 PM
I read the title hoping it was a harlequin. Congrats on the piece of history!
Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Thursday, December 13, 2012 4:50 PM
Congratulation on your find. Keep on with you car passion. Also, thank you for the VW history lesson.





--------------------------
NCR-SCCA Street Touring Compact #18 Cones killed: 26
Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:55 PM
Thanks guys, and you're welcome dude. The More You Know.......

If I repainted this thing one solid color, I'd most likely be lynched when I showed up for SoWo next year summer.. There was a ton of people wanting this car, and it'd just be an utter slap in the face to ruin the paint scheme, especially when normal Golfs are a dime a dozen. In fact, I passed up a Ginster Yellow GTi 2.0 turbo that was built from the ground up by Black Forest Industries to get this car, so that should bare some hint as to how sought after this car is.




R.I.P. JessE Gerard 7.11.87 - 1.25.08
The Radiation Nation Facebook Twitter Twisted Metal Alliance
Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Friday, December 14, 2012 4:46 AM
They are neat and a cool piece of history but that doesn't change the fact they are hideous lol.

Congrats on the find homie.



Club Jeffie, Yea we can make that. Text or Call(908)866-1882



Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Friday, December 14, 2012 10:12 AM
LOL, thanks bro.



R.I.P. JessE Gerard 7.11.87 - 1.25.08
The Radiation Nation Facebook Twitter Twisted Metal Alliance

Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Friday, December 14, 2012 10:34 AM
I can approve, is this gonna come to SEGME?



Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Friday, December 14, 2012 11:58 AM
Probably not, because the month after, it's going to Helen, Georgia for SoWo. Unless Sinh's car isn't ready for SEGME, then we'll be taking this if not for nothing else but to go and hang out without everyone.



R.I.P. JessE Gerard 7.11.87 - 1.25.08
The Radiation Nation Facebook Twitter Twisted Metal Alliance
Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 11:31 AM
You should go buy this piece of vw history while youre collecting.

http://newjersey.craigslist.org/cto/3440456423.html




Club Jeffie, Yea we can make that. Text or Call(908)866-1882



Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Thursday, December 20, 2012 9:30 AM
Wow had no freaking clue about these cars! Nice pick up.



"Remember do what you like because you have to drive it."--Me
Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Friday, December 21, 2012 9:54 PM
Thanks duder

The Quantum is one of the few Dubs I'd actually never own. I think they're downright hideous, and that one just looks like the Scirocco's ugly sister.




R.I.P. JessE Gerard 7.11.87 - 1.25.08
The Radiation Nation Facebook Twitter Twisted Metal Alliance
Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Saturday, December 22, 2012 6:31 AM
I've never seen the apeal of them, plus MK3's blow my nuts



Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Friday, December 28, 2012 8:45 AM
funny up here in ct i literally used to see 4 or 5 of them running around. never cared enough to think more about it. i would prefer my old mk2 recaro pkg gti over that though. have fun with it.



Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Sunday, January 20, 2013 3:28 PM
Yeah, I started out a Mk2 guy, and actually had a few I was looking at.. A couple GTis, a couple Jetta GLis.. All ended up sold. Then I happened upon the classified for this one and knew I couldn't let it go. I still have the skirts and arches from my old GTi laying around the garage that need to get gone.



R.I.P. JessE Gerard 7.11.87 - 1.25.08
The Radiation Nation Facebook Twitter Twisted Metal Alliance
Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Sunday, January 20, 2013 4:11 PM
So you paid money for a rusted, multicolored VW with paneling falling off because it is rare?

That's like catching Hepatitis C from @!#$ Pamela Anderson without a condom, just to say you did it





Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Sunday, January 20, 2013 4:49 PM
I saw one of these at a meet long ago and loled at it. I guess i now stand corrected. Its actually pretty cool!

Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Saturday, February 02, 2013 5:01 PM
The only rust on the car is on the hatch, which I didn't care about since I was already planning on, and now have, a european hatch for it. I got mine because it's actually pretty rust-free. Most of them migrated north over the years and are rusting out. I also fail to see any panels falling off But yes, I paid money for a multi-colored VW because it's rare, but also because I love them and think they're pretty neat.

Where was this meet at?




R.I.P. JessE Gerard 7.11.87 - 1.25.08
The Radiation Nation Facebook Twitter Twisted Metal Alliance
Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Tuesday, February 05, 2013 7:45 PM
sad thing is the vr6 was as slow as a z. the 2.slow, eesh. glad you still like it though.



Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Wednesday, February 06, 2013 9:31 PM
My Passat wagon is a VR6, and from my personal experience, it's faster than a Z24, stock for stock. Even in my bulbous, bloated wagon. But where it has that nice power range, it drinks fuel like it's free, and at 70 bones a tank, and a range of only 400 miles on that, it's just not worth it. Not in a daily driver. Yes, the 2.slow is, well, slow.. The Harlequin made 360 miles with a quarter tank to go. I'm seeing a minimum of 35mpg, and loving it. The Cavalier can be my fast gas guzzler, and the Golf will be my eco practical car.



R.I.P. JessE Gerard 7.11.87 - 1.25.08
The Radiation Nation Facebook Twitter Twisted Metal Alliance
Re: Owning A Little Piece of VW History
Thursday, February 07, 2013 7:09 AM
i still say the vr is slow. as slow as the 2.slow is i miss driving my jetta. blueberry is nothing more then a loud ticket machine lol



ʇı ɹǝʍo7 | ǝcoMonstǝrs

Forum Post / Reply
You must log in before you can post or reply to messages.

 

Start New Topic Advanced Search