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One-Off VW Polo Harlekin Arrives From The Netherlands to Signal It's 1995 Again

Anyone who doesn’t agree that Volkswagen’s range of cars could benefit from a bit of spicing up is probably a die-hard fan of the decidedly traditionalist company. Just look at the uncanny resemblance between the classic from 1995 and its modern reincarnation as both hang out together in the gallery's hero shot. Even so, we would take the latter Polo home without asking too many questions.
2021 Volkswagen Polo Harlekin one-off concept 9 photos
2021 Volkswagen Polo Harlekin one-off concept2021 Volkswagen Polo Harlekin one-off concept2021 Volkswagen Polo Harlekin one-off concept2021 Volkswagen Polo Harlekin one-off concept2021 Volkswagen Polo Harlekin one-off concept2021 Volkswagen Polo Harlekin one-off concept2021 Volkswagen Polo Harlekin one-off concept2021 Volkswagen Polo Harlekin one-off concept
Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to. And it’s not because we are not residents of The Netherlands, which is the birthplace for this rehash of the classic VW Harlekin. Yes, that “cheerful and slightly naughty clown” (a.k.a. a harlequin) which joined the company’s lineup as an incredibly colorful Polo a quarter of a century ago.

Back in 1995, the company took the third-generation subcompact and gave it a colorful appearance without actually thinking it would go into series production. Instead, the rolling work of art morphed into a limited series “Polo Harlekin” that was successful enough to even cause a hike in production from the initial 1,000-unit batch to more than 3,800 examples.

Its origin is simple and (oddly enough) comes from the Germans' serious way of thinking. Back in 1994, when the Polo Mk III arrived, the company used a simple code of “building blocks:” drive, equipment, options, and color. Each of those blocks had an associated color code for added convenience – blue for the powertrain and chassis, yellow for equipment, red for options, and green for the paint shades.

Then, the idea was taken a step further as a batch of twenty Polos had their bodies painted to exhibit the color code for promotional purposes. And, thanks to outstanding popular demand, Volkswagen actually put the most colorful Polo ever in production. The rest, of course, is history.

Now, said history has made a one-off comeback, which is kind of regrettable because the sixth-generation Polo absolutely looks better like this. Granted, it’s a bit hard to imagine that VW is going to pull another “commedia dell’arte” (Harlequins are dressed figures of the once-popular Italian form of art) on its production facilities.

That is because the 1995 Polo Harlekin had a complicated manufacturing process. Each of the limited series’ examples came to life after VW initially produced four standard Polo units in the colors blue, red, yellow, and mint green. The body parts were then swapped in between, according to a fixed pattern, and each of the four units thus came out with a different base color.

Editor's note: The press release was Google-translated from Dutch.

press release
 
 
 
 
 

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