Do you miss bold, vivid car colours as much as I do? Do you wish cars were offered in more than just grey, other grey, black and white? Well, Volkswagen’s Netherlands division is here to show you how things used to be with a Polo wearing the colourful Harlequin paint scheme.
On Monday, Volkswagen showed off a Polo wearing the striking Harlequin (Harlekin in Germany) paint scheme in Holland. The occasion? Celebrating a quarter-century since the last Polo Harlekin.
That circus of a car was designed to showcase Volkswagen’s Baukastensystem — a modular system that cut the Polo into four categories. Customers configured their Polos through a colour-coded system to select the desired drivetrain, equipment, options and paint colour. The Polo was a visual representation of that system, and the cars came painted in Ginster Yellow, Pistachio Green and Tornado Red.
Originally, only 1,000 Harlekins were meant to hit the road. Turns out that more than 3,800 were produced up to 1997. McDonald’s even raffled off 500 of them.
The 1995 Polo was not the first nor the last appearance of the Harlequin paint scheme, named for the costume of pantomime performers. Carscoops notes the colours made an appearance in a 1964 ad. It depicted a Beetle in the colours to tout the vehicle’s ease of service and bold colours. Here in America, we also got a Golf wearing the Harlequin colours. Those are exceedingly rare, as only 264 made it to American highways. The Harlequins are so loved that some people will even rescue them from junkyards!
This tribute to the Harlequins of past is even rarer as a one-off. Still, it’s a beautiful reminder that cars don’t have to be boring shades of grey or colours so muted they may as well be grey. I feel so tempted to do a Harlequin-inspired colour scheme on one of my own cars.