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A Life of Volkswagen Passion: Jamie from Orchid Euro and his new Harlequin MK3 Project
Few enthusiasts are ever granted opportunities to follow their passion to the extreme and live their entire lives completely engrossed in their chosen hobby. We often think of professional athletes, racing drivers, musicians, and other creatives as ‘living the dream’ by doing what they love every single day. While some of us (read: writers) are offered a sneak peek into the worlds of these individuals by which we are enthralled, the subjects of our writing live the lives we envy. Jamie Orr of Orchid Euro is one such individual and a good friend of ours that we host regularly who is able to live his passion to the extreme thanks to partnerships with companies like Volkswagen and ECS Tuning. This time, Jamie stopped by with his newest project, an unmolested VW MK3 Harlequin he picked up near our facility from the original owners.
You may know Jamie from his other Harlequin projects, his Citi Golf challenge build, or the Rallywagen trip in which he partnered with us to drive a pre-production Jetta Sportwagen all the way to the Arctic circle. Jamie is a world-traveling car nut who often takes on wild projects like those we mentioned either for fun or out of obligation if you can believe a thing exists. His most recent visit to Ohio was to trailer the Rallywagen off for another event and to purchase this gorgeous single-owner MK3 Harlequin that will receive a full restoration.
One luxury I have always imagined an individual like Jamie is afforded is the purchase of a car without a test drive or any real concern over the car’s condition. Jamie knows that regardless of the car’s current state, everything that can be replaced will be. This gives him the ability to make purchases many of us can (and do) afford on the front end but never have a hope to finish as the build progresses. Fortunately for the previous owners and those of us with stalled projects, this MK3 could not be in better hands than his.
We saw Jamie pull the hatchback from the trailer and actually drive it for the first time since he picked it up that morning. The car looked worse for wear and drove just like it, which almost made Jamie excited. The thought of restoring not one but now two Harlequin MK3s (he has one already in-progress) seemed to motivate him quite well. What makes these cars so appealing, especially in stock form, is their obvious paint scheme. They received a mismatched series of panels orchestrated by the folks at Wolfsburg as a fun special edition that became a cult classic. The Harlequin that he brought here at our facility is about to return to its former glory, but for now, exhibits the signs of abuse from years of dependability.
The previous owners of the vehicle, who purchased it originally, told Jamie about their elderly mother who drove the car for years as her daily driver. The image of a doting senior citizen, complete with blue hair and random napkins stuffed in every crevice of the car, absolutely tickled Jamie and further adds to the story of this MK3. When it came time for the car to be taken from the road, the owners knew to reach out to Jamie. While he was unavailable, they tried to contact him. Unfortunately, they had no choice but to place the car for sale. Within hours of the owners listing the car after they couldn’t reach him, a friend of Jamie’s sent him the post and the owners happily agreed to sell the car to him alone. Now, the life of this Harlequin is about to change at the hands of possibly the biggest Volkswagen enthusiast around.
These stories of cars, their owners, and the people who follow their passions on a daily basis are the ones we love to hear, but also carry with them a twinge of envy. We are ecstatic to see what will become of this rusty MK3, but also immensely jealous of Jamie’s ability to do what he loves every day. Jamie’s visit was a whirlwind of activity, meetings, conference calls, and a spot of musical cars as we switched the MK3 with the Rallywagen on his trailer. We watched him leave, wagon in tow and MK3 following behind with his wife at the wheel and were left imagining what the car will look like when it is completely restored.
Jamie is both a source of inspiration and of jealousy. His passion has lead him to the life many of us wish could fall in our laps, but it is also a certain commitment and dedication that brought him to where he is now. While we all hope to be like Jamie, his adventures are still something many of us could not go without. Often, the inspiration he provides through his projects keeps us going on our own. Jamie lives his life the way he wants to and provides endless entertainment to those of us who do not spend every waking moment building our dream cars. We can’t wait to see what becomes of this Harlequin and its sister, and of course, what Jamie dreams up next. You can catch his Citi Golf VR6 build at SEMA this year, so look out for the blue-and-white paint scheme on the South African VW at the show.