S&P’s take on a VR6 Harlequin.
Almost everyone has seen one, whether or not they knew it was a purpose built car and not an accident, who knows…
In 1996 Volkswagen built a small batch of cars for a promotional purpose. They were built on a 4 door Golf GL chassis, the only real interior difference was the seat upholstery, it was the same fabric used in the “joker” trim on European models of the same era. The outside is where the “magic” happened, VW took panels from 4 base color cars (Red, Blue, Green and Yellow) and swapped the removable panels between the other base color cars, leaving you with a very loud exterior.
Fast forward to 2015, and I have an opportunity to buy a very sad, yellow base harlequin locally. It had been resprayed at some point to be all yellow, but the colored panels were peeking through the worn paint. The driveline was tired, the interior was beyond tired, it was time for either a restoration, or euthanasia…
I sent the car off in pieces to my local painter, he began smoothing out life’s abuses and owners neglect, fixing shopping cart dings, and poorly placed jack stands. We needed a new hatch, or at least a tub that wouldn’t fall out every time you closed the hatch or went over a bump.
I found someone parting a 4 door golf, that had a lot of Euro market parts, hatch, bumpers, core supports, rebars, etc. We took it all.
Next on the list was the interior, after looking and not finding anyone wanting to sell their limited edition seats, I spoke with Kip at Loves Trim Shop and worked out a plan for some new threads. Mk2 Recaros on mk3 bases, leather wrapped, suede inlays and stitching to match the colors outside, without making the interior too loud to enjoy driving it.
That left me to get started on the driveline, the stock ABA was no different in the harlequin cars than it was in a standard Golf GL.
I had a 2.8 24v from a GTI that was wrecked, I had the machine shop go through the block, hone and a ring job, new bearings, new chains, guides, gaskets etc.
I couldn’t help myself, since I had it all in pieces I painted each section of the motor in the matching colors of the car, engine block, head, upper timing cover, lower timing cover, valve cover, intake, accessories, brackets…
I was seeing spots from all of the painting and planning.
Now that the car had been painted back to its original colors, engine painted and assembled and interior back from Love’s, it was time to make it a whole car again.
This is always the fun part, assembly is very gratifying.
Once the car was fully assembled, we could enjoy the best part of a vr6 swap – DRIVING!
During this build, a lady had contacted me about wanting to purchase the car when it was done. That is another story all together and arguably better than the one I just told you.
She and “Polly” now are in the Knoxville area, so if you see them, say hello!