Originally the idea was to show with the help of a kit system with components such as "Engine and Chassis", "Interior", "Optional Equipment" and "Paintwork" that the Polo can be put together individually. In 1994, this was also optically shown in an advertising motive.
Each building block was represented by a colour, which is how a four-coloured model was created. Anyone who owns this telephone card, which can be seen here, owns a rarity. Please have a look at this master model.
This car was really built! (In very, very small edition).
In those days, market research showed that there was a real potential for a four-coloured Polo, which prompted the design of a new model, now with a blue roof and a yellow bonnet. In 1995, a second master model of the Polo Harlequin was presented at the IAA, the International Frankfurt Motor Show, which was the one that was actually built in the end.
As planned, the multi-coloured one proved to be very popular and, as Wolfsburg were faced with an unforeseen problem, many more than the originally planned thousand were built. Volkswagen were confronted by customers requesting a red or a yellow roof and so the four models known today were finally designed. Version 3 for instance, with a blue roof and a yellow bonnet, is definitely the first Harlequin ever to have been built.
As rumour has it, a Wolfsburg Volkswagen dealer reacted first and at lightning speed distributed Harlekins he had put together himself before the Volkswagen Group had had a chance to react but, in my opinion, this piece of information should be taken with a pinch of salt. However, in a closed-down paint shop, seven Wolfsburg mechanics started to disassemble uni-coloured red, blue, green and yellow Polos from ongoing production. Afterwards, all parts were put back together according to a set pattern, until it became a four-coloured car. In this way, the four multi-coloured Polo varieties known today were built.
Originally limited to 1,000, most probably 3,806 were delivered according to my last findings. Because I have no contrary evidence, I dare to claim that only the first thousand of these special edition cars received a certificate and a key ring with consecutive serial numbers,
given the fact that only one thousand had originally been planned. Unfortunately, all the others did not receive this "extra".
When ordering a Harlequin, the customers' colour requests could not be taken into account as the production process did not allow for this. So, if someone ordered a Harlequin, he did not know which colour version he would finally receive.
Wolfsburg are unable to answer my question regarding the number of cars actually delivered: "...Unfortunately we are unable to answer your question as our statistics only record data relating to the total series of models. We regret that it is impossible to provide statistics showing individual models and equipment varieties, considering the large number of possible combinations and data. Please accept our apology!..."
On my Statistics Page, I extrapolate an estimate of the number of cars produced in one variety or the other. There is nothing more I can do as Wolfsburg are keeping a tight lid on this information, too. (They should have employed me. With my love of statistics we'd be better off now - only joking!)
On the whole, I consider all my information to be fairly reliable and I regret that, in this age of computers, where other useful and useless statistics are being maintained, it is impossible to find out about the quantity of items produced. If anyone knows of anything more reliable or has anything lying around at home relating to the sources mentioned below, please come forward - I will pay top rates!.
Last but not least: The Polo Harlequin is not a McDonalds promotional vehicle. When the Harlequin was first launched, McDonald's offered stickers in different colours in the shape of doors, wings, etc, to be collected, stuck on a card and used to enter in a competition.
This way, 500 cars found their owners.
The draw itself was a gimmick, which I find somehow, suits MD. In the end, the winners' joy was as great as the resentment of those who spent a lot of money on their Polo, only to be asked: "I say, won it from McDonald's?" But that's all there is to it.
So far, no one has outed themselves on my site as a McDonald's-Harlekin-Owner yet. So, if any (former) MD-PH-Owners read these lines and remember any additional details, I'd be pleased to receive your message.
In the case of the Polo, the name Harlequin stands for the multi-coloured outfit. But there aren't just multi-coloured Polos. Some time ago, I discovered one Beetle-Harlekin and two Golf-Harlekins with German numberplates. The research I conducted as a result showed that there are two hundred officially produced Golf Harlekins in the US as well a similarly limited edition of the VW Beetles in Mexico. In addition to this, there is a variety of cars resprayed by individuals, which resemble the original sometimes more, sometimes less.