Side shot of the Polo Mk3 Harlequin Edition

The Polo Mk3 Harlequin Edition: The real car behind our ‘completely made up’ ID.3

If you’re reading this, it might be because you’ve seen our Electroluminescent ID.3 Harlequin Edition. It would be hard not to, it’s completely made up of contrasting colour panels using electroluminescent paint that pulses in time with the car’s sound system.

The truth is, we completely made it up for April Fool’s Day. It was just a bit of fun. But, back in 1995, things were a little more serious.

Nearly three decades ago, The Polo Mk3 Harlequin Edition went into production. Its story is one that feels accidental, and its popularity was definitely unexpected.

Polo harlequin

So, what’s the story behind the Volkswagen Polo Harlequin Edition?

It’s interesting to note that Volkswagen never planned for the Polo Harlequin to be produced. All we really wanted to do was launch the new Polo Mk3.

The Harlequin was actually born out of the need for a sales tool to showcase the new Polo’s modularity and personalisation options, and support Polo’s advertising strapline at the time, ‘Small can be so versatile’.

Legend has it that a bunch of trainees came up with the idea of creating a fleet of ten muti-coloured Polos in 1994 to demonstrate at the modular system better than any brochure could.

When the colourful Polos were revealed at motor shows, the public seemed genuinely disappointed that it wasn’t a genuine car. It created quite an unexpected demand. Volkswagen, not being a brand to disappoint, dutifully obliged and produced a run of 1,000 Polo Mk3 Harlequins, or as they were called across most of the European market, Harlekins, in 1995.

The rest is history

In total, it’s believed that 3,806 were manufactured over a three-year period. What began as a car show gimmick, grew to become the muti-coloured maverick that continues to turn heads and split audiences today.

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