#101 of 264 A Volkswagen Harlequin and Its Delightfully Different Owner
Words by: Alexandria Tacy Photographs by: Amanda Cook
Outside of a retro inspired cafe, with jazz music in the background and a historic theatre next door, I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Delilah Carew and her 1996 Volkswagen Golf Harlequin. Every bit as vivid as her owner, “Polly” is certainly one of a kind. Number 101 of 264, Delilah’s Harlequin is built to taste and it does not lack in style or expression. With a 24v VR6 swap under the hood, custom Recaro interior and Ronal teddy bear wheels all sitting on coilovers, Polly is quite the showstopper and estimated to be one of the 115 Harlequin Golf’s still accounted for as of June, 2017.
With generations of mechanics in her family, Delilah has always been submersed in the automotive world. She has always liked cars but doesn’t particularly enjoy working on them. She states that she used to be overweight so that her reason for going to school for mechanics is because she didn’t think she would ever find a husband to work on them for her and it made her realize that she needed to learn how to do things for herself. Her earliest recollection of being involved with cars was when she was around eight years old. Her dad was fixing the brakes on his Imperial and her two brothers were helping. Delilah said she remembers wanting to help as well but her father’s opinion was that women didn’t work on cars so he gave her some pliers and told her to pluck the grass. Since then she has amassed a knowledge of mechanics, modifications and even some body work.
When asked about what inspired her build, Delilah stated that she didn’t initially intend on buying a Harlequin until she was in her late twenties after she had purchased a home. After casually mentioning to a friend one day that she had wanted one, he stated that she needed to check out a build that a guy in Georgia was working on. Sal from S&P Automotive had started the initial build and color matched the car. When she saw the pictures of the Harlequin and how it looked like a Lego explosion all through the engine bay, how it was bright and colorful and weird and that people didn’t know what to think about it...and how that had been how she felt her entire life, she knew that there would never be another vehicle more perfect for her. Refusing to take no for an answer, Delilah told Sal that she was buying his car. She worked three jobs and saved up for a year during which time she and Sal would discuss the fine details of the build and what she wanted. When she had the money, she didn’t even argue over his asking price- she was just thankful to finally be able to call Polly her own.
When asked for her words for female auto enthusiasts, Delilah says “Don’t be afraid and always be real.” If you don’t know how to do something, then own it. If all you know how to do is Plasti-Dip your emblems, as long as you aren’t claiming to know more, then nobody will give you a hard time. People respect you for being real, honest and for having a willingness to learn a lot more than they will if you just stand half-naked in front of your car pretending to know something you don’t. If you want to play with the boys, you have to act like one of the boys. And always, always be yourself.