A quarter of a century ago, Volkswagen released the Polo Harlequin (or Harlekin, as they call it in its homeland), and to commemorate its anniversary, as well as to show how far technology, comfort, and safety have come since its debut, VW Netherlands created a one-off 2021 Polo featuring the iconic Harlequin paint scheme.
3,806 Polo Harlequin were originally made, but this new one is limited to a single unit and is not intended for production. The 2021 car features the exact same four colors found on the original Harlekin, which were Chagall Blue, Ginster Yellow, Pistachio Green, and Tornado Red
After reading that, you might be wondering what color a Polo Harlequin actually is underneath or the reason for their existence, and the answer is a bit more in-depth than you might think.
The idea began with a 1964 advertisement featuring a colorful Beetle. The commercial was intended to demonstrate how easily parts of Beetle models from different years were interchangeable, and it showed different-colored body panels all over the car.
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Flash-forward to 1994, and Volkswagen had just introduced their new production method called the “Baukasten system”. It consisted of four building blocks—drive, equipment, options, and color—to make it it easier to put together a Polo to your exact taste. To visualize those four building blocks, Volkswagen came up with a color code: blue for drive, yellow for equipment, red for options, and green for paint colors.
In order to make the code language more imaginative, the company created twenty Polos in those colors for promotional purposes at dealer events, inadvertently recreating the famed Beetle ad. So many people saw the cars and liked them that Volkswagen decided to make it a production model.
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They began with a production run of 1,000 four-tone Polos in 1995, which received the name Harlequin. That’s where we get to the question of the actual color of one of these cars. For a Harlequin, Volkswagen would build four normal Polo in the colors blue, red, yellow and green. Then the body panels were exchanged with each other.
As a customer, you could order a Polo Harlequin, but you could not indicate a preference for the underlying color. It was simply a waiting game to to see which of the four available color combinations you would get. The first 1,000 Polo Harlekins were also delivered with a numbered key ring and a certificate.
Would you like to see VW bringing this unique coloring to one of its existing models in your market?