What do you do when you have a rusty red MK3 Golf and want to make something unique? Why not paint it a multitude of colours? Harlequin colours to be more specific! That's exactly what Lee Docherty did...
A little over 3 years ago Lee picked up this more door 16v GTI Golf when it was all one colour, red. He then put his own mark on it with a set of Porsche Teledials, a healthy drop on coilovers and that was it… until he tried to sell it. With the MK3 listed on the classifieds it kept breaking, almost as if it didn’t want to leave and after a while Lee decided to sell his trusty Passat instead. This was when Lee hatched his Harlequin plans to debut at Ultimate Dubs 2012.
The Golf Harlequin was never offered for sale on these shores, instead being constrained to the US market only. In the UK we were given the Polo Harlequin. Both these models were a somewhat questionable, tongue-in-check marketing exercise by VW in the mid ’90s where they swapped panels with four different cars to create the special edition before you. These colours are Chagall Blue, Ginster Yellow, Pistachio Green and Tornado Red. Lee can’t quite explain why he chose to make his Harlequin replica, he said it just felt like the right way to at the time. Of course a lot of people told him he was crazy and tired to talk him out of it. But that just made Lee even more determined.
One of the hardest parts for Lee was finding a painter to take on the job. Thankfully he eventually found someone willing and the transformation began. The front bumper was smoothed over and the plate recess on the boot was shortened. The wings were the relieved of their side repeaters and smoothed over, all for a cleaner look. Finally the four colours were applied to the correct panels, all in order and before he knew it Lee had his very own multicoloured Golf. To finish things off on the exterior he customised his headlights with yellow reflectors on the high beam and completed the rear end with some blue Hella tails.
Next up was the interior and Lee kept up with the theme by sourcing Colour Concept leather seats and door cards. The seats and cards were then painted (yes you read that right) in the correct colours for the four corners of the car. He also added a rare Momo Colours of Bennetton steering wheel to set the car off inside. That completed the look for 2012 and for the next couple of years the Harli sat on some 17″ Autostrada Modenas and it looked fantastic on them. However Lee made the change to some 17″ AC Schnitzers this year to show off the colour coded barrels and brake calipers. Check out the colour coded bolt caps and Lego valve caps too! Ahh yes, Lego, we’ll get on to that in a minute.
Last year saw the change to the lovely sounding 2.8 VR6 engine you see in these pictures as Lee wanted to up the game a bit in the engine department. He entrusted Dougie at Trix to do the conversion for him and whilst the engine was out it would be rude to not do a bit of smoothing. The bay was welded, smoothed and painted and the VR6 got a splash of colour with a custom intake. The wiring loom was lengthened and hidden from sight along with all the bottles and battery you normally find alongside the engine and the finished article is perfect for this car, carrying on the Harlequin theme. 2013 also saw the change to a Rayvern air suspenion setup to get stance bang on.
That brings us up to this year and the Lego… For 2014 Lee decided to fill the void in his boot with an install and what better theme than Lego to tie in with the Harlequin colours. He went for a full Hertz audio install, with the amp and air tank designed to look like two giant Lego blocks, covered by perspex and surrounded by Lego walls with Lego men for a bit of character. Of course Lee only used Lego blocks that were the same as the Harlequin colours to keep things looking right.
We caught up with him whilst he was over for Dubshed and organised a little feature after the show. Lee is a genuine nice guy and was more than happy to show us round his car, pointing out the subtle touches. I couldn’t believe it when he told me he drives this daily to work and back. Anyone who builds something as fun and awesome as this MK3 and then drives it every day definitely gets our respect and we look forward to seeing it a few more shows this year. Be sure to check it out and spot all the details on this one-of-a-kind Golf, or ‘Lego Car’ as it has been affectionately nicknamed.
Words Aaron Hegarty
Photos Aaron Hegarty, Adam Hamill, Clark Caughey, Lorin Gannon, Simon Cuttle
Car Owner Lee Docherty
Location Titanic Quarter, Northern Ireland