VW Harlequin: The Story Behind the RARE Rainbow Volkswagen | Bumper 2 Bumper


– What happens when one of Europe’s largest automakers
does the unthinkable and decides to listen to their fans? (upbeat music) You get this. This isn’t a custom paint job. This is from the factory. My question is, why? We’re going ginster yellow hood to pistachio green hatch,
chagail blue rocker panel to tornado red side mirrors, bumper to bumper on this Polo Harlekin. (upbeat music) (upbeat music continues) Unless you’re a die hard VW fan and French language
enthusiast like moi self, you might not even know about the Golf’s little brother, the Polo. – [Man] The Polo has
been around since 1975, spanning six generations. Built to be an entry level vehicle just below the Golf, it started off as a re-badged Audi 50 that eventually morphed
into it’s own unique model creating a cult following in Europe all along the way. (upbeat music) The beginning of the multi-colored Polo dates all the way back to the 60s. The VW advertising team
released a print ad of a Beetle. It was their way of saying that the Beetle has loads of interchangeable
parts from previous years. Not sure why you’d want to advertise that. Fast-forward to 1995 when VW executives were re-using their old advertising playbook. Ferdinand Piech, then
chairman of Volkswagen group came across that old Beetle ad and decided to use a similar concept with their new Polo. VW painted up some of
their all new baby Golf’s using the various shades the
car would be available in. Internally they gave them
the nick-name harlekin. (upbeat music) – [Man] Now, the only harlekin I know is Harley Quinn from that movie ‘Wolf of Wall street’. – [Man] But, besides
psychopathic clown chicks, a harlekin is also a
(definition in foreign language) from olden times, like
when kings and queens actually ruled countries. They were jokers if you will. They wore fluffy costumes adorned with multi-colored diamond patterns. Those colors were green,
red, blue and yellow. That’s where the name came from. – [Man] If you care about spelling at all harlequin is spelled with a k in German, we in the states spell it with a q. The Polo Harlekin was surprisingly a hit. They built about 20 of the original cars from various auto-shows and advertising purposes. But, in a strange turn of events the public’s response from
the car was so welcomed that VW decided to do a
limited production run of 1,000 cars. What’s even more surprising
is those sold out. So they built an addition 2800 of them. After a little digging on
a German VW Polo forum, I found out that McDonald’s
gave away 500 Polo Harlekins’. The only thing I’ve ever won
from McDonald’s is indigestion. (stomach gurgling noise) (crowd laughing) (upbeat music) If you’re wondering what kind of person buys a car like this? Well let me introduce you to
the man behind this build, Jamie Orr. If he looks like a familiar face, maybe you’ve seen him on Instagram. He’s been building and
restoring all sorts of VWs’ and driving them across the country to raise money for various charities. Pretty awesome. Also James bought his Golf from him. In the USA we never got the POLO, but VW did test the
waters with the paint job, on the Golf. But, they weren’t very successful. Only 264 of them were made. And they had a tough
time getting them sold. Dealers had so much trouble unloading them that they would piece
together multiple Harlekins’ to sell as a single color. Some of them even got repainted. Of the 264 cars built, Jamie has owned 4 of them. He’s has about a 2% share in the Golf Harlekin production run. That’s the same percentage
of milk I drink. (female laugh off screen) So when Jamie got the opportunity to build a Polo for a show in the Netherlands, he jumped at it. Even better, STC suspension asked to have the car shipped to the USA and driven after the SEMA show. If you’re curious how a
car that’s not 25 years old is able to come over and not get seized and crushed. It’s on a one year visitor visa. Yeah, that’s a thing,
I didn’t know either. (upbeat music continues) Now this isn’t your
typical run-of-the-mill six-end Polo Harlekin. It’s got some pretty trick
little goodies underneath. – [Man] But, before we get into that let’s talk about the most obvious feature, the paint. (upbeat techno music) What seems like random colored body panels thrown together here and there is really controlled chaos. Using this paint scheme matrix, you can break down how
each car should look. There are four different base color models that can be identified
by looking at the roof. The roof color will also be
the same as the C-pillars and the rocker panels. These were all welded together before being painted so they will always be the same on a true Harlekin. (upbeat techno music) – [Man] If you were one
of the few people to go to a VW dealer and order a Harlekin there is no way to specify
which color you wanted. You just got the one you got. Production process didn’t allow for ordering specific base colors, and honestly, why would you. This Polo got a restoration paint job but it stayed true to the
original specific color scheme. (upbeat techno music) This thing is sitting
on some serious candy and I’m talking Spree’s over here and not the chewy ones. We have some BBS RF
009 three piece wheels. The center caps are
custom made in England. And of course each wheel is color matched to one of the four primary base colors, I love that. Hiding behind those wheels are color matched ST suspension
coil over springs and the disc brakes got updated at all four corners as well. The wheels also have
some nitrogen valve stems with pistachio green caps on them. That’s attention to detail. (upbeat techno music) In the back, Jamie
installed a Votex rear wing that’s pure and correct, very cool. Housed inside the wing
is a third brake light. But the stock rear window already had a third brake
light from the factory and double third brake
lights are a serious faux pas that’s a dead giveaway, my guy. So the rear window was replaced with a band new OEM piece of glass with the brake light deleted. Some other cool touches
include these door handles. The OG black handles just wouldn’t do. And these period correct
narrow cup-side mirrors. What do you say we check
out what’s powering this little pup ster? (fading in techno upbeat music) The Polo Harlekin originally came with a 99 horsepower, 1.6 liter in-line 4. Jamie thought, it needed a
little bit more power baby. So he took a 1.8T out of a Mark 4 Golf and squeezed it into
the smaller super mini. The bigger 4-banger got
a unitronic stage two plus tune with a K-O4 turbo and bigger fuel injectors. A 3 inch downpipe from the Mark 4 goes into a 2 and a half exhaust from a TDI and it does not run a catalytic converter. (upbeat music) To make way for the inter cooler, the power steering had to be taken out which in a car this small, I don’t think it’s actually a big deal. All and all the engine puts out roughly 60 horsepower per color or roughly about 250 horsepower. Not bad for a car that weighs 2,000 pounds or 1.5 James’. – [Man] Engine swaps come with all sorts of engineering challenges that make builds interesting. Things like engine mounts. Lucky for Jamie a guy in Germany had already figured out all
the detailed measurements for making a set of 1.8T motor
mounts that fit in the Polo about 15 years ago. Wanting to give credit where credit is due they engraved the German guy’s name on the mount. Nice work Paul Michael. Also, totally unrelated to
that generous German fellow BFI put a (beeped put word) on there. Gotta love a good (beep) butt. I have one on my butt. Let’s see that Photoshop Max. (voice of random guy yelling) Once the motor was buttoned up with a BFI lightweight fly wheel and upgraded clutch. A freshly powdered coated yellow oil-pan and an Audi S3 intake, the engine was ready to be tested. A week before the car needed
to be on the road to Vegas, it was clear the transmission Jamie had wouldn’t bolt up. He needed one from a
Mark 4, Golf or Jetta. In true car building
spirit he asked for help in an Instagram post and
a follower came though. Thank you very much. What does a 1.8T sound like in a Polo? Let’s go inside and find out. (techno music) The inside of this car reminds me of one of those buses we took on filed trips in high school. These are the original joker-styled seats, speckled gray with colored blocks. They look amazing and are pretty comfortable too. – [Man] It’s even got some
custom made Harlekin floor mats to match. The steering wheel is a brand new old stock Styrro, color
matching of course. It’s got a hand-made
black forest shift knob with OEM shift boot and hand brake. The head unit is a Blakupunkt blue. And it has a fisher cassette box, you know, to play piano by candle light when you’re rolling down the street. I’m exited to start this thing, let’s crank it up. (engine idling) (engine revving) (man laughing) (engine revving) I did not know Volkswagen’s
could sound like that. (engine revving) So choice. Turn it off so you can hear me. I was not expecting that
from this tiny little car. That’s probably one of the best 4-bangers I’ve ever heard. That sounds amazing. (techno music) It took Jamie 5 days to
restore the car in Europe before it made its way up to the States. It then took another eight days to finish the build just in time for SEMA. I respect the hell out of this build. The Harlekin already
stands out of the crowd. But what Jamie has done is built a car that stands out in a crowd of
cars that stand out in a crowd not many people can say that. Follow Jamie’s rush to SEMA on his YouTube channel Jamie Orr or for more pics @XJamieXOE on Instagram. Follow us, @donutmedia. Follow me on @NolonJSykes. And follow James @JamesPumphrey. We miss you dude, be nice. See you next time. (upbeat techno music)

100 thoughts on “VW Harlequin: The Story Behind the RARE Rainbow Volkswagen | Bumper 2 Bumper

  1. There is no need to design engine mounts for mounting 1.8t in the polo (the Seat Ibiza Cupra mk2 is basicly a polo and it came with a 1.8t From factory, you can Even swap front doors, front ends, suspension and interior between the Ibiza and the Polo)

  2. I dint pay attention when he talked about the engine but when i started i said that sound like my car hummm that whislte … that a 1.8t for sure rewinded to when i spoke of the engine and i was right what a feeling when u recognized the engine with just the sound

  3. kind of crazy that once NOS energy sponsored them James has a heart attack… Seriously hope he's doing well though… Mo' Powa!

  4. This thing is like a pug.
    My girlfriend would think it's cute and immediately say she wants one The second she sees one, but I think it's ugly and annoying but could see myself falling in love with it the more it's laying around the house.

  5. Apparently there are a few a dealers that could not sell them so they swapped all body panels to make solid color cars and sold them!

  6. Damn, growing up in NJ in the euro car scene in the mid 2000s, I remember seeing this car at events like H2O, waterfest, Blitzkrieg for Boobies… etc. I always thought it was some crazy VW enthusiast who puzzle pieced this golf together but go figure, it was probably factory.

  7. There was a golf harlequin in Monroe Michigan for years and the lady put close to 250k on it she loved that car then just one day it stoped showing up around Monroe I miss that car so much 🙁

  8. Fun fact: insurance for these is more expensive than for a single color Polo with the same spec. At least that's the case here in Germany. The reason is, because it's more expensive to repair/repaint in the case of an accident or damage.

  9. Nolan is doing a good job filling in for James but honestly wish they would’ve saved this episode for James knowing how much of vdub fan he is this probably would of been my fav episode if he had did it
    P.s it’s still fuck nos

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