The Harlequin VW Golf is back, sort of

Custom Harlequin Volkswagen Golf GTI

In 1996, Volkswagen celebrated its Beetle heritage with a limited production of Harlequin Beetle, Polo, and Golf models, in Mexico, Europe, and U.S./Canada, respectively, with each model sporting four vibrant colors on its various panels. The quirky paint scheme has a bit of a cult following, and every time a new generation of VW hatchback debuts we can’t help but wonder what one would look like “Harlequinized.”

Southern California’s Galpin Auto Sports has already answered that question with a customized 2018 GTI. We stopped by the Galpin VW dealership during an event to welcome the 2019 Jetta, but it was the colorful VW outside that we kept eyeing. Galpin Auto Sports’ General Manager Tommy Rezaie told us the vinyl-wrapped GTI is one of two cars customized by Galpin that will be available for rent shortly, the other being a Kia Stinger.

The original Harlequin was from a 1960s Volkswagen advertisement touting the interchangeability of parts in the slowly-evolving Beetle. The ad showed a multicolored car with panels from several different years of production. The fact that a door, hood, or fender from just about any year Beetle would fit together so nicely proved just how easy it is to get replacement parts for the ubiquitous VW.

While body-panel interchangeability is long gone, the new GTI is a whole lot more powerful and comfortable. If you have the urge to drive one of the most head-turning new VWs in all of Los Angeles on your next visit this summer, the Harlequin will be ready.