10k: Real(ly Ugly): 1996 Volkswagen Golf Harlequin
The Harlequin Edition third generation Golf was a real variation of a real car built by a real automaker to be sold through real dealers to really misguided buyers. This is one of just 264 sold in America, making it one of the rarest Volkswagens ever. But being a Volkswagen, it’s also bagged, modified, and in between electronic failures. Find this 1996 Volkswagen Golf Harlequin for sale in Waukesha, WI for $10,000 via craigslist.
For such an oddball car, the Harlequins’ coloring process was well calculated. Each car rolled off of the assembly line with a complete body in one of four colors. Body panels were then swapped, corresponding with the chart below. So without even looking at the door jambs or engine bay, we know that this Golf can be titled as a yellow car.
The stock 2.0-liter SOHC ABA engine generated an underwhelming 113 horsepower from the factory. With a Neuspeed supercharger running at 15psi, expect 160 usable horsepower, adequate for a 2,600-pound car in 1996. It’s mildly stanced with an Airlift suspension and Gotti wheels. The rear wheel wells were cut by the previous owner to accommodate the stance (beauty has its price!), but it’s hard to tell. With the picture quality and orientation, everything is hard to tell.
The Harlequin motif continues on the inside, turning your commute into a never-ending 1990s Chuck E. Cheese birthday party, but without the fun of beating the Deinosuchus stage on the Lost World Jurrasic Park game. Sure, covering the body and interior in a multi-hued color scheme makes about as much sense as only uploading vertical pictures to craigslist. But you’ll never see another real one on the road. Now is your chance to put one in your driveway… or better yet, your garage.
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PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.
Forget the Limeys, it's Marmeladinger Car Week. Jawohl!
When I was a grad student in upstate NY, I used to see one of these on campus. My question was always "Why?" Over time it looks just like any winter beater, Every rusted panel replaced by body parts from a multitude of cars.
There's one of these here in Omaha. My hood Benson actually. 3rd one I've seen, all in NE, too. That interior really brings it all together…
The description says it has minor Knicks…like Charlie Ward and Hubert Davis?
Rubix cube of VW Golf. Why would anyone want this thing? Only if you need a lot of attention, such as a 2-year old! And pay top dollar too???
So if you get a little rust and a few dents and decide to swap in junkyard panels, does it all end up the same color?
I had no clue this was a thing. I've seen one rolling around Gadsden, AL for a while now and just assumed it had a few backwoods makeovers…
I remember when these came out as the local whet I grew up in NH got a couple. I've always loved them as they were built when VW wasn't afraid to be different. I wish they'd reexamine their roots and see what used to set them apart from all the Japanese appliances