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Kaleidoscope Of Colors: VW Golf

1996 VW Harlequin Golf

You definitely don’t need a kaleidoscope when you have one of the 264 Harlequin Edition VW Golfs that were built. No, this VW isn’t a pieced together wreck (although it was wrecked), it came from the factory painted this way. If you’d like to take a closer look at this factory patch work, you can find it listed here on craigslist in Germansville, Pennsylvania and priced at $2,800.

96 VW Harlequin #69 left front

Only 264 Harlequin Edition Golfs were imported to North America. As of January 2015, 118 units of those were accounted for by the Harlequin Registry. The story goes that in the VW factory in Mexico, each Golf Harlequin would travel down the assembly and be finished in one of the four colors: Chagall Blue, Ginster Yellow, Pistachio Green or Tornado Red. After each car was “complete” the workers would unbolt the bolt-on panels and switch those to a different car. This wasn’t a random color rotation. There was a menu or recipe to follow in creating this mess of colors. The previous owner smashed the front end of #69 (this car), bending the two frame rails and now it has a salvage title. There isn’t an image of the frame damage, but it doesn’t look too bad from the outside.

96 VW Harlequin #69 intr.

This owner doesn’t have the time to fix this project, so they are just letting go of it. While the front end is damaged, the rest of the car looks to be in good shape. The seats and interior have been cleaned professionally and look to be in fantastic condition.

1996 VW Harlequin Golf Interior

Yes, we believe that is the original steering wheel.  The owner has purchased some used Euro fenders, a front clip, and a new OEM Jetta hood for some of the needed repairs. The chassis has 70,000 miles on it, so it should still have a lot of life left in it.

VW Harlequin Golf

The owner has plenty of new and spare parts that maybe worked into the deal. The owner asks you to make contact if you have cash, are serious and/or need more pictures. So does the rare and odd Harliquine option make this Golf worth saving? This is about as strange as it gets from a major manufacturer, don’t you think?




  1. Avatar photo Mike

    Hate to break it to ya, that’s not the original steering wheel. It should have a black airbag wheel

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    • Avatar photo Mark E

      Obviously non-stock clear tail lights in one pic also. The stickers in the rear window make you wonder if there are any mechanical “mods” also… -_-;

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  2. Avatar photo Charles


    This car is perfect for the fellow with the striped shirt, plaid pants, and mismatched socks.

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  3. Avatar photo JW

    The only ones I can imagine being interested in this hodge podge of parts would be that little skinny kid from the 80’s Erkil or a burned out Hippie Flower child who forgot what century he was in by smoking too much illegal substance.

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  4. Avatar photo Barry T

    On the positive side this thing would be fairly easy to find in a shopping center parking lot.

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  5. Avatar photo Charles

    No one would steal it.

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  6. Avatar photo toolbox

    This would be a great car for someone who is looking for a little fun with their housing association. I can see the letters about having a junk car sitting in your driveway filling the mailbox now. “yeah sorry it was made that way.”

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  7. Avatar photo Rspcharger

    I’m shocked there were so few imported to the US, most of them must be in Seattle as I see them often. Or maybe they are clones

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo John

      …. did you mean clowns??

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  8. Avatar photo jim s

    the damage to the front end is to great for me but i would love to have one of these that had not wrecked. interesting find.

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  9. Avatar photo Birdman

    I saw one up here in Alberta, Canada about 2 or 3 years ago. I’m not a fan of VW’s but seeing that one made my head turn… Would I buy one?…Maybe just to make other people’s heads turn…but would not be my first pick of cars…

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  10. Avatar photo Mike R

    You means – that’s a factory combo? Wow :)

    What’s the primary color on the registration read? Pastel?

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    • Avatar photo skloon

      They actually are registered by the roof colour- my wife loves these and wanted me to paint her Volvo like this, I keep pretending not to hear

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  11. Avatar photo HeadMaster1

    I believe these were “created” at the Port of Entry, NOT at the factory. I worked for VW Corp, but not at this time. Heard lots of stories about these. MOST “Special” models are created by the local importer/distributor and then created at the Port of Entry. Wheels, spoilers, seats, full body kits, etc. As long as its done at the port, it goes on the window sticker as a factory item, covered under the factory warranty, unlike most items installed at the dealer level……

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    • Avatar photo Robert Member


      According to this article these were produced at the VW factory in Puebla, Mexico.



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      • Avatar photo HeadMaster1

        Robert, sure can’t argue with that picture. Those parts are straight from paint shop (bare metal, no trim installed yet), not parts from completed vehicles as indicated by many other sources. Assembly plants are good at one thing (hopefully) and one thing only, that’s’ putting pieces together. If somebody (or a team) manually manipulated the parts sequencing right after paint, that would allow the cars to be assembled on the normal production line. It was my understanding that cars were built 100% complete as one-color units, then parts swapped afterwards, which would require a special assembly line, which is what Port of Entry (Port Processors do this type of work all the time)…Not trying to start an argument in any way, that picture shows incomplete production parts, no doubt about it. Question is, was that just a media pic or a real pic of how these cars were produced???

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    • Avatar photo Jason

      “I believe these were “created” at the Port of Entry”


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  12. Avatar photo Charles

    This reminds me of my son’s first vehicle. It isn’t VW, but has lots of different colored parts on it. I bought it for him 17 years ago when he was 16. It started off as a nice old Dodge Ramcharger 4×4. It had some Miles on it, but no damage ever, and no rust. As kids often do, he banged up the SUV several times. Usually it was in the woods while he and his friends were hunting or fishing. Once a mishap occurred at Panama City Beach. I always suspected some beer or pot was involved, but can’t prove this theory. Everytime the truck was damaged, we would make a trip to the local wrecking yards for pieces and parts. After a few years the old truck looked like a patchwork quilt. We planned to repaint it at some point, but then it became a novility, so we left as is. My son is grown now with a family of his own. The pieces and parts truck is still around, but is used as a farm truck and for off road activities, such as hunting, fishing, and camping. VW may have stolen our idea…

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  13. Avatar photo gunningbar

    Reminds me of the Benneton Formula One cars… I thought they were great looking cars.

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    • Avatar photo Eran S.

      Actually, Outside of the U.S we’ve come to know those as “Golf Benetton” and I may be wrong but we always thought they were designed in coordination with the Italian fashion house. Google this name for fun photos of similar cars.

      Never thought I’d see one again…

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  14. Avatar photo Mike

    I can see this being a easy car to repair, heck who cares what color the parts are just slap them on it and drive it, no need to paint the repair parts to match, they would already match sometime on the car.

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  15. Avatar photo rich voss

    An artist friend of mine here in Chicagoland owns one. I thought he painted it, just to be “different”. Will have to look at it more closely next time I see it. Harlequin. Huh.

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  16. Avatar photo MR FRIEDMANN

    I was told at the time that these cars where made to advertise the COLORS OF BENETTON. I was offered one by the VW dealer in Tacoma WA back in 1984. Tom Carstens was the dealership’s name, now defunct.

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  17. Avatar photo Mr. TKD

    I saw one of these at a show. I thought it had been painted by a guy who wasn’t wearing an air regulator/mask.

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  18. Avatar photo Joe

    Test drive inthe in Miami, Florida in August 96. According to the dealer, these are supposedly done for the Olympics or so he said.. cool car but I could never get overthe key minder playing La cucaracha.

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