From the Island to the Mainland – Rafael’s MK3 Golf Harlequin

Personally, I’ve known Rafael, or “Rafa” as everyone calls him, for a short while now. He’s the kind of person any car enthusiast should aspire to be. Rafa might be one of the most humble, friendly, and helpful guys you will ever meet. The first project he had that caught my eye way back in the day was the MK3 Jetta everyone called “El Verdugo” (The Hangman). Probably 5 or 6 years back when the stanced-out/lowered scene was barely starting on the island, Rafa had already been killing it.


Fast forward a couple of years later and we now have this beauty of a project: a 1996 Tornado Red MK3 Golf that has been transformed into a Harlequin. The reason for doing so, because like so many other enthusiast, he wanted something that wasn’t available to him. So what better homage to the original then to make your own. Especially in making it look so much like the original, that it’s honestly impossible to tell the difference between them. Having the only Harlequin on the island, he constantly gets perplexed looks and frequent questions from people who don’t know about the origin behind the color scheme.

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Little background on the state of Harlequins and Puerto Rico, when the model first came out they were limited to the US and not PR.  Needless to say it’s always eye candy every time it hits the road. Besides the perfectly kept paint job, the Golf is fitted with 3 piece Schmidt Modern Lines (which might we add are 16×8.5F/16x10R) with the faces made to match the pistachio green on the body. Previously static it now rolls on AirLift V2 air system, continuing to grab attention as it runs through the rough streets of Puerto Rico without having to worry about breaking the actual car. Interior goodies include the Momo Bennetton steering wheel to keep things colorful on the inside too.

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Unfortunately, this is the last time we’re going to see Rafa’s Harlequin on the island as he is making the big move to the mainland soon with the car in tow. I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone as I say that you will be missed. Keep moving forward, and I hope everything works out for the best in this new chapter of your life with the DubEmpire family stateside. Never stop being the true enthusiast and the amazing person that you are. Not goodbye, but see you later.

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Words by Juan Rodriguez @emekatreberesei

Edited by Sean O’Connor @smokeysama

Photos by Gabriel Rodriguez @agabopw

If sharing photos please follow and credit us and our photographer:


@agabopw – Gabriel Rodriguez

View entire Flickr album, by clicking here.

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