Archive | Polo 1994-2002

16 May 2022 ~ 0 Comments

Car & Classic Auction watch: 2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

The 2000-2002 Volkswagen Polo GTI established the model’s name in the UK, building on the fun factor of the early Nineties Polo G40. A fun car with a bright personality, PoloDriver.com editor Rich Gooding owned one for almost a decade. Now you can, as a low mileage example comes up for auction on the Car & Classic website.

Oh my. Look at this. I have very happy memories of this one. Although the Polo GTI first gained VW’s legendary go-faster badge almost 25 years ago, the first cars released in 1998 were limited in number. Only 3,000 of the 120bhp Polo GTI were available to Polo fans in Europe. Once they were gone, customers had to wait until the refreshed third-generation Polo was launched in the autumn of 1999 to get their hands on, what was billed at the time, the spiritual successor to the original 1976 Golf GTI.

Zippy personality
But it was worth the wait. The revamped cars gained 3bhp, and a more ‘GTI’ look, even though they shared much with the original run of cars. The 15-inch BBS alloy wheels were the same, slightly bonkers – and bright, unless the optional posher leather trim was specified – interior was the same, and the re-invigorated hot Polo’s get-up-and-go was the same, too. The 0-62mph dash was dispatched in 8.7 seconds, although the Polo GTI’s 1.6-litre engine’s revvy and zippy personality made it feel faster.

I ran a 2001 Polo GTI for almost 10 years and loved it. Well-built with a colourful interior and many ‘big-car’ appointments such as xenon headlamps – the Polo GTI was the first small car to have them as standard – ABS, and traction control, it was never the sharpest driving tool in the box, but it was still a lot of fun. Which is why this 2001 Polo GTI which goes under the Car & Classic online auction hammer later today, piqued my interest.

Low mileage example
Only sold in the UK from 2000-2002, the ‘6N2’ Polo GTI is a moderately rare car, with only 3,300 imported during that period. Many have been modified or written-off (as happened to my beloved car, but only because it was involved in a rear-end smash in the summer of 2021), so there tend to be few chances to find a low mileage example. And what a gem this car looks to be.

The headline stats are one owner, and 86,000 miles. Yes, that’s right, this car has had just one owner, and has covered under 90,000 miles in 21 years. Externally, aside from its headlamps, which could do with a polish, it looks perfect, the Reflex Silver paintwork – the millennial Polo GTI was only available in black, red or silver like the original Golf GTI – contrasting nicely with the red tail lights.

Refurbished wheels
The brake calipers peeping out from behind the 15-inch BBS rims are red, just as they left the factory, and the split-rim wheels themselves have been refurbished. The listing stated that there is a very small imperfection on the paint on a wheel arch, but you’d be hard-pressed to see it. Inside, the Lupo-derived dash is fantastic, the red door cards look clean, as do the strangely-upholstered (I’ve never understood the number 1) sports seats. There’s a little wear on the outside bolsters which seems odd, as my car seemed to not suffer this, even after 148,000 miles, however, it’s all more than presentable.

The Sony six-CD autochanger is present and correct in the boot, and under the bonnet, the engine looks great, with its red HT leads still in place. A full service has just been undertaken, including a cambelt change, and the car has new Toyo tyres as well as new brake pads and discs. It also has a full service history and even the original bill of sale.

Potential modern classic
All in all, this Polo GTI is a great starting place for a potential modern classic. Although not quite at ‘classic’ level yet – the car has always lived in the Golf GTI’s shadow – as they get rarer, who knows what the future might hold for the 6N2 Polo GTI. But you’ve only got to look at the pictures to see the potential: tidy, understated styling that looks just right, wheels in a classic design that really suit the car, and an interior which screams ‘fun’ in a rare break from the Volkswagen norm. Add in a fantastically solid build, a zesty engine and that GTI practicality, and it looks a winner. I know, I owned one.

If you fancy owning one, too, head over to the Car & Classic listing to see full details and lots of photos of the car. The Polo GTI Car & Classic Auction starts at 14:30 today, 16 May.

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20 January 2021 ~ 0 Comments

New Volkswagen Polo Harlequin created to brighten up Blue Monday

Here’s something to brighten up the darkest and bleakest January day. The enterprising Volkswagen importer in the Netherlands has created an updated version of the arresting Polo Harlequin, which was sold in Europe. Unveiled for ‘Blue Monday’ on 18 January, the new version of VW’s small car joker wears a brightly coloured wrap and is based on the current sixth-generation Polo.

It’s not the first time an updated version of the Polo Harlequin (named ‘Harlekin’ in Europe) has appeared of course, but this latest attempt is set apart by just how well it has been done, and by how ‘official’ it looks. But then it has, in effect, been made by Volkswagen Netherlands. There’s also the fact that its original Harlekin buddy in these images is in tip-top condition. It’s rekindling all sorts of rare Polo desires in us!

Originally on sale in the UK in April 1996 – yes, the Harlequin is now, unbelievably, 25 years old – after its its appearance at the 1995 London Motor Show, the Polo Harlequin was based on the 1.4 CL. Featuring their own unique upholstery, UK-bound Harlekins were equipped with a driver’s airbag, Polo GLX ‘sports bumpers’, white indicators, as well as darkened tail lights. The UK price at launch for the five-door-only model was £11,095.

‘Building block’ approach
Manufactured in batches of four (Yellow, Pistachio Green, Chagall Blue and Flash Red were the base car colours), the idea was reportedly born from how the continental, European-market Polo was sold. Employing a ‘building block’ approach where buyers could pick and choose between various option packs rather than the UK’s solid trim levels, the bundles were marketed with each one a different colour: blue for chassis and engine; yellow for equipment; green for paint colours; and red for options. Yep, you’ve guessed it, the same colours as the Harlequin panels.

The other innovative approach with the Polo Harlequin was that the buyer was unable to specify a particular panel to be a particular colour – the combination that their car arrived in would be a complete surprise! Around 250 Golf Harlequins employed the same idea in the US, and both the rainbow-coloured Polo and Golf may have been inspired by the ‘Ballyhoo’ Beetle of 1971 which was painted in the 10 colours of the UK-market model.

Initially a concept to gain a production acceptance, VW displayed the Harlequin at the 1995 Frankfurt motor show, and was inundated with customer requests to buy it. Twenty cars were initially made for the promotion of the ‘Baukasten’ building block option system, and a run of 1,000 cars followed. A total of 3,100 Harlequins were eventually produced. UK buyers bought only 113 examples, and a quick check on howmanyleft.co.uk shows that 27 Harlequin are still registered for use on UK roads.

Sadly, there are no plans to put the 2021 Polo Harlequin into serial production, the car clearly made just to brighten people’s spirits during what is traditionally a quiet and unexciting time of year. It has certainly succeeded. However, we think a production version could be just the ticket drivers need for 2021 as we hopefully start to slowly and steadily populate roads again, and see 2020 increasingly disappear in the rear view mirror. It’s also an anniversary ripe for exploiting. How about it VW?

[Images: Eric Van Vuuren / Volkswagen Netherlands]

Would you like to see a new and official production version of the Polo Harlequin? Let us know in the comments section below.

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10 November 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Our cars: 2001 Polo GTI – report twelve

With a slew of more modern machinery driven recently, Rich Gooding’s 2001 Polo GTI has taken some time off in the past few months. That doesn’t mean it’s been a quiet 11 months since the last update, though…

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

I was quite surprised that the last update to Y464 GHJ’s story was eighteen months prior to the most recent report. However, with time a precious commodity, this latest update is 11 months after the last one which was published back in January. The car, a 2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI hasn’t been without incident this year, though, even if it is now taking a small break with a recent roulette of test cars. More of which later.

10,000-mile service
First job on 2015’s maintenance list was the 10,000-mile service back in February. A little behind schedule, 12,000 miles after the last one, Sani’s Motors in Chelmsford (01245 460040) also repositioned the steering wheel (it had annoyed me that it wasn’t straight since I bought the car), and looked into the intermittently-functioning boot light.

It turned out that the boot lock, connector and microswitch all needed replacing. A common issue with 1999-2001 ‘6N2’ Polos, the microswitch can get wet from water ingress in the boot, causing it to stop working. The car was booked into Sani’s in March and had the offending parts replaced and an MoT was also carried out. I’d looked on VW’s ‘ETKA’ parts system online via the excellent vagcat.com beforehand and identified the parts required.

Rear tyres replaced
While Y464 was in Sani’s workshop, I also had the front off-side headlamp washer jet and pump replaced, at the jet itself wasn’t its usual graceful-appearing self, rising from the bumper when the washing action was requested. A pair of rear tyres were also fitted, which were flagged up when the car was in for the service.

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12 July 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Event photo report:
Club Polo 2015 Polo Social

Over the weekend of 26-28 June, the UK’s leading organisation for Volkswagen Polo owners once again staged its annual gathering. Previously called the ‘Polo Show’, for 2015 the name of the event was changed to more reflect its status and nature, being more of a social meet-up than a full-blown ‘show’ in the traditional sense.

Show ’n’ Shine
Whatever the name, it didn’t deter Polo owners from all corners of the UK descending on Billing Aquadrome in Northamptonshire for three days of Polo-based antics. With a Show ’n’ Shine on the Sunday, we made our way to the event to present the PoloDriver.com trophy for what we thought was the best car at the show. Shane Biggs’ 6N2 GTI was awarded the prize.

Eight trophies in total were up for grabs, with four (1st, 2nd, 3rd best cars in show and ‘People’s Choice’) awards chosen by the event attendees. Club Polo organisers chose the ‘Best Wheels’, ‘Best Interior’ and ‘Best Rat’ winners.

A relaxed and informal atmosphere is one of the nice things about the event, and as usual, there was a nice mix of older and newer cars, though sadly no Mk 1 Polos made the event in the model’s 40th anniversary year. To find out more about Club Polo or to join, visit clubpolo.co.uk.

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22 January 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Our cars: 2001 Polo GTI – report eleven

Rich Gooding updates the story of his 2001 Polo GTI, which, used almost daily, has seen a fair of share activity since the last report almost eighteen months ago…

Hot Hatch Sunday at Goodwood meant an early start

This report almost got broken down in several updates, it’s been so long since I reported on Y464 GHJ, my 2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI that I’ve owned since September 2011. The last report highlighted how fun the car was at the Guild of Motoring Writers’ Big Day Out at Rockingham Motor Speedway in the summer of 2013. So just what has happened in the intervening 18 months?

The car’s annual service was due last March and, at 99,963 miles, it was taken into the ever-dependable Sani’s Motors (01245 460040) in Chelmsford. Y464 only needed an interim tune-up, so all the usual procedures were carried out, with the addition of a new pollen filter and new front brake discs and pads. The only minor problem reported was a leaking offside headlight washer pipe.

Losing power
Nothing major then, and I thought the car left the garage fully fit and feeling better after its fettling. That was a mistake. That very same month, on the way to work, warning lights started appearing on the dash, and the car showed signs of losing power. The battery had been replaced a few months earlier, so my thoughts turned to the alternator. Or lack of it, as the car slowed to a halt a few moments later and resolutely refused to start.

Thankfully, I had decided to take a non-busy backroad route in case the inevitable happened, and so found myself just outside a waste management site with an hour’s wait for the RAC. The technician’s battery check proved that it was indeed OK, and that the alternator was the cause of the problem.

A quick call to work, and I was then on my way back to Sani’s with the RAC van following behind, in case the ‘borrowed’ charge petered out. With just two weeks separating its visits, Y464 was back at the Essex VW specialists having a new alternator, auxiliary belt and oil filter fitted. Another £218.51. In-between its visits, the car’s mileage had just toppled over 100,000.

Early summer saw me fit a genuine set of 6N2 Polo GTI front mudflaps. I’d managed to track down a pair on eBay, and although used, they were in good condition even if they didn’t come with new self-tapping screws. 6N2 GTI front mudflaps have mouldings which take into account the model’s deeper sills, and wraparound them snugly.

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Some ways to find safe online pharmacies in Canada
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