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VW Golf R Painted the Wrong Color By the Factory is a One-of-a-Kind Mystery

The car has been credited with inspiring Volkswagen to bring a broader range of colors to the U.S. market.
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These days, most new cars come with a strictly limited set of colors from the factory. Usually, you get a small selection of blacks, whites, and greys, with red or blue sometimes joining the party. Every now and then, though, a car slips through the cracks and scores a color that was definitely not in the brochure. That’s exactly what happened at Volkswagen in 2016, with a special kind of grey.

As seen on Bring a Trailer, the car in question is a 2017 Volkswagen Golf R. It’s become a bit of a legend since it first hit the dealership lot in November 2016. That’s because this Golf R was painted in Carbon Steel Grey Metallic, a color that was never officially available on the model from the factory. When the car was first listed for sale by Lindsey Volkswagen in Dulles, Virginia, the car caused a major stir.

The current owner dug deeper into the car’s history, enquiring with Volkswagen as to how their car came to be painted in Carbon Steel Grey Metallic (paint code LA9W). The color was originally only offered on the Mk 6 and Mk 7 Golf GTI, but not the Golf R.

Volkswagen was unable to offer a definitive answer as to what happened. Company representatives indicated that the most likely reason was that the four-digit paint code was either entered incorrectly or the wrong paint was selected due to a system error. According to the company, the car should have been painted in Limestone Grey (paint code LA7N).

Since the paint was available in the Wolfsburg factory, the car was simply painted as such and passed through the production line. Quality inspection didn’t turn up a problem as the finish had no issues, and inspectors aren’t usually looking for cars painted in colors outside their strict designation.

The frenzy ignited by the car saw over 100 callers vying to secure the Golf R when it went on sale, with Facebook comments going crazy over this one-off factory misprint. The excitement was spotted by Megan Closset, then the product manager of the Golf GTI and Golf R in America.

Closset was able to point to the huge community reaction to boost her case to bring the Spektrum program to the U.S. market. The program saw the Golf R receive a full 40 extra paint options, including everything from rich teals and ocean blues to searing oranges and intoxicating greens.

Volkswagen was able to confirm that the car was the only Golf R produced in the Carbon Steel Grey Metallic color. It issued a special letter of authenticity to the owner stating its one-of-one status, and also highlighted the car’s role in bringing the Spektrum offering to the US.

The owner has enjoyed the car muchly, but is now ready to move on. If you want to own this unique piece of Volkswagen history, it’s up for sale on Bring a Trailer. At the time of writing, it’s sitting at just over $15,000, but expect that to climb with five days remaining on the auction.

These days, if you’re dying for a Golf R in a fun color, you can simply pay $2,500 to pick from a wide and exciting selection. If you want Carbon Steel Grey Metallic, though, it’s no longer available at Volkswagen. You can still get it at Porsche, where it lives on as a Paint to Sample color.

Got a tip? Let the author know: lewin@thedrive.com