DAF’s roots go back to April 1, 1928, when Hub van Doorne founded the “Commanditaire Vennootschap Hub van Doorne’s Machinefabriek en Constructiewerkplaats”. The startup capital, 10,000 Dutch guilders, was provided by the owner of beerbrewery De Valk in Eindhoven. Van Doorne’s forge and workshop were situated in an extension of the brewery’s main building. That brewery with the extension is now the DAF Museum’s accommodation. And Eindhoven is still DAF’s hometown.
Business flourished, especially the production of all sorts of trailers and semi-trailers, and the production facilities got bigger. In 1932 the company’s new name became “Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagen Fabriek N.V.” Since then known as DAF. An aanhangwagen is a trailer, fabriek means factory. Yet the Van Doorne brothers, Hub and Wim, had another dream and goal: the production of real automobiles, so cars and trucks. Then aanhangwagen could easily be replaced by the Dutch word automobiel, without having to change the letters DAF. The brothers had a long-term vision, that’s for sure.
Pictured above is an unsuspended 1946 agricultural trailer, that could be drawn by horses or by a farm tractor.
DAF’s first automobile was the 1949 A50 truck chassis with a welded frame. Engines from Hercules or Perkins, Fuller transmissions, Timken axles, Ross steering gear, Hardy-Spicer driving shafts, u-joints and wheels and Bosch electrics.
The 1950 chassis in the museum has a 83 hp Perkins P6-80 diesel engine. The chassis was driven to a coachbuilder, like Paul & Van Weelde, to build the cab. Later DAF started the production of its own steel cabs.
Early DAF truck. On the left a 83 hp Perkins P6 6-cylinder diesel, on the right a 91 hp diesel version of the Hercules DJXH 6-cylinder gasoline engine.
Three fire department DAFs from the fifties. DAF offered Perkins diesels and Hercules gasoline engines (both 6-cylinders) in their trucks. In 1956 the most powerful diesel option, the 108 hp Perkins R6, was replaced by the 105 hp Leyland 0.350 engine.
A very rare DAF A10 van, this one was used by the police. The A10, with a payload capacity of 1,000 kg, was introduced in 1950. The engine was a 46 hp Hercules gasoline engine, type IXB-3.
A fully restored 1956 DAF-BOVA bus. Chassis by DAF, bus body by coachbuilder BOVA (Bots Valkenswaard). Originally it had a 102 hp Hercules JXC gasoline engine, later it was replaced by a 135 hp DAF BA 475 gasoline engine.
North America had the Ford C-series and its direct competitors. The Netherlands had these in the sixties. Durable high-quality all-rounders. This generation was introduced in the late fifties, easy recognizable by its grille with capital letters D A F.
The dashboard of those DAF models…
….and a view to the right, where my brother and I often could be found during our school vacations in the early and mid-seventies.
Clean little mixer truck, you don’t see them that small anymore. Mixer trucks typically have four or five axles these days.
A 1968 DAF AZ 1900 DS 6×6 truck, the AWD models had the headlights in the bumper.
This heavy-duty beast has a 165 hp DAF DS 575 turbo diesel.
My favorite classic DAF, the 2000 DO-series, introduced in 1957 as DAF’s new top model. Its cab was wider and was extended to make room for the 165 hp Leyland 11.1 liter 0.680 diesel engine. It was available with a day cab or with a sleeper cab, as such it was DAF’s first big diesel truck for long distance hauling. The 6-speed transmission was supplied by ZF from Germany.
A stunning 1962 DAF AS 2000 DO 6×2 grain tipper. Fully restored to its original condition by the museum’s volunteers. It used to tow a matching (colors and set-up) drawbar trailer with three axles.
The grain tipper’s dashboard and classic steering wheel.
Looking through the windshield we see five other classics, four of them are cabovers. On the left a 75-series; the 75/85-series was introduced in the early nineties. This model evolved into the CF-series (Bryce from NZ drove one). The tall white truck is a 95-series with a Space Cab. The 95-series was introduced in 1987 as DAF’s new top model, it became the European Truck of the Year in 1988.
The next white truck is a 2800-series, introduced in 1973. The 2800-series was the successor of the famous 1962 DAF 2600-series. The yellow cabover truck is the all-new tilt cab generation, introduced in 1969.
On the left a DAF Torpedo truck. A torpedo truck is a synonym for a conventional truck. DAF introduced this model in 1957, mainly to satisfy the need of customers who insisted on driving a conventional truck. On the right a 2600-series.
The same conventional DAF from another point of view.
Mr. Brekelmans & Sons from Geldrop, a town nearby Eindhoven, chose this 2600-series tractor for long distance hauling.
This 1984 DAF 3300 Space Cab is fully original and was basically parked in the museum right after its last working day. Some paperwork and the driver’s cap are still on the dashboard. This was the first factory DAF model with a raised roof for extra space and comfort items.
The gauge on the left is the tachograph, speedometer, odometer and clock.
Retired truck driver Arno, now volunteering at the museum, next to DAF’s current flagship. The XF model with a 510 hp 12.9 liter engine, meeting the Euro 6 emission standards. Arno gave me some useful information about several trucks in the museum and allowed me to climb into the cab of some of my favorites. Thanks again Arno !
The brand new XF in the museum has an automatic transmission. The floor is completely flat, and thanks to its raised roof you can stand up straight here and walk from door to door.
The museum also has an engine room, where several ancestors of today’s PACCAR engines have gathered. DAF’s engine factory was opened in 1957, the production of their own complete rear axles started a year later. Leyland licensed DAF to build the 0.350 engine, that was the starting point. DAF called it the D 575 engine, a direct injected 6-cylinder 5.75 liter diesel engine, 120 SAE hp. Perkins diesel engines and Hercules gasoline engines were no longer offered from the late fifties onwards. Along with the diesel engines, DAF also offered 4.77 liter gasoline engines. Meanwhile the 575 diesel engine was also available with a turbo charger, the 165 hp DS 575 engine. Many turbo charged DAF diesels would follow, and in 1973 DAF was the first truckmaker that offered diesel engines with a turbo charger combined with intercooling.
A 212 hp DK 1160 marine diesel, naturally aspirated. On the left we see a heavy-duty frame with tandem drive axles, good for 26,000 kg (57,320 lbs). Also visible is a part of an F16 landing gear, as built by DAF Special Products.
A golden engine, and rightfully so ! The 1160 (11.6 liter) engine series was the heart of all big DAF trucks for almost thirty years, starting in 1968. It derived from the 11.1 liter Leyland 0.680 diesel engine.
DAF generator set, used by the fire department.
Three Paris-Dakar rallyraid trucks from the eighties, driven by rally legend Jan de Rooy. The first one (on the left) is the 1987 DAF Turbo Twin II, then the 1988 DAF 95 Turbo Twin X1 and the yellow truck was used in the 1985 rally and was called “The Bull”. These 4×4 monsters each have two 11.6 liter diesel engines to drive the axles. The DAF 95 Turbo Twin X1 was the most powerful and fastest: 1,200 hp (600 hp per axle) and a top speed of circa 220 km/h. It even surprised, and overtook, professional rally driver Ari Vatanen in his factory Peugeot rally car.
A closer look at The Bull.
And finally a DAF race truck with a 1,000 hp 12 liter version of the 11.6 liter truck diesel. Four valves per cylinder, two Garrett turbo chargers, two water-to-air intercoolers. As impressive as the power output is its max. torque: 4,000 Nm (2,950 ft-lb).
I hope you enjoyed the ride. Since there’s way too much to see in the museum to put in just one article, I’ll be back with the military vehicles, the cars, and the specialties in separate articles.