Once the Second World War was over, DAF started to develop their own trucks and the series production started in 1949. The Van Doorne brothers’ next goal was to develop and build an affordable and economical automobile for the people. Not only that, it also had to be easy to drive and to operate, regardless the age and the skills of the driver. In other words: what they wanted was a true volksauto, the Dutch equivalent of the Volkswagen.
Easy to drive and to operate. That meant it had to have an automatic transmission. But a conventional automatic transmission from that era (like in Van Doorne’s own Buick) wouldn’t work in a small and light car they had in mind. So Hub van Doorne started to work on an alternative in the fifties.
The end result was the most outstanding and renowned component in all DAF cars ever produced: the Variomatic transmission; the direct ancestor of what we now know as the widely used CVT transmission. The first DAF car, the 600 model, was officially introduced in 1958. An in-house design, the engine included.
Sooner than I initially had planned, I got me a fresh load of pictures for this car-episode of the DAF Museum tour. All pictures were taken on last Sunday.
Variomatic – swing axle combination, no differential. Used in the DAF models 600, 750, Daffodils, 33, 44 and 55. The Variomatic belts were made by Good Year.
Variomatic – De Dion combination. Introduced in 1972, used in the DAF 66 model (and the later Volvo 343 and 340 models).
Rear side of the Variomatic – De Dion, with a differential.
Three DAF two-cylinder boxer engines in a row; four stroke and air cooled. From left to right: 590 cc – 22 SAE hp, 746 cc – 30 SAE hp and 844 cc – 40 SAE hp.
The other side of the engine display, obviously the biggest engine is now on the left.
The four-cylinder water cooled Renault engines that were used in the DAF 55 and 66. On the left 1,108 cc – 50 hp and on the right 1,298 cc – 57 hp.
The very first series production DAF car, a DAF 600 De Luxe, built in 1959. It has the 590 cc engine under its hood.
This RHD DAF 600 De Luxe was exported to South Africa in 1961. In 2013 it was still a daily driver.
Both this DAF 750 model and the DAF Daffodil were introduced in 1961, powered by the 746 cc engine. The Daffodil offered more luxury and chrome parts.
The first Daffodil in the series was the Type 30.
The Daffodil Type 31 was basically the successor of both the DAF 750 and the Daffodil Type 30.
The Daffodil Type 32 was introduced in 1965 and it was the last in the Daffodil series. Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti redesigned the front, the hood and the trunk. It was Michelotti’s first DAF-job; but it certainly wouldn’t be his last.
After the introduction of the bigger DAF 44 in 1966, the smallest DAF car model was renamed DAF 33 in 1967. The 33 van was popular among electricians, plumbers and the like.
A single rectangular rear door.
Once a very common sight in my country, a DAF 33 van as used by the Dutch postal service, the PTT (the logo is on the van’s door).
Much rarer was the DAF 33 pickup.
Payload capacity 330 kg (728 lbs).
The all new and bigger DAF 44 was introduced in 1966, fully designed by Giovanni Michelotti. Powered by the 844 cc DAF engine.
A DAF 44 wagon police car.
In 1974 the DAF 44 got a De Dion axle with a single belt and was renamed DAF 46.
DAF 46 wagon. Exactly how a lot of people want their cars these days: compact, roomy, practical and cheap to buy and to run.
Looking further inside the 46 wagon.
The DAF 55, introduced in 1968, looked the same as the 44. Although it did have a bigger -and open- grille and bigger tail lights. The first DAF car model with a water cooled engine, the Renault 1,108 cc four-cylinder.
Original DAF sticker on the rear window.
Now this may come as a surprise, but DAF was actually a successful race, rally and rally-cross participant in the sixties and seventies. Above a DAF 55 in full rally trim.
Two DAF 55 rally cars drove the 1968 16,500 km London-Sydney Marathon. Number 30, the car driven by Rob Slotemaker, ended as 17th of the 100 entries. And the DAF production model “Marathon”-trim line was born.
The face of a DAF 55 Coupe.
And the front of a DAF 66 1300 Marathon Coupe. The DAF 66 model was introduced in 1972. Volvo bought DAF’s car division in the mid-seventies and rebadged the DAF 66 as Volvo 66. Meanwhile Volvo has also left the building, that is: the car plant in Born, the Netherlands.
The 66 was available with the 1.1 and 1.3 liter Renault engines.
The DAF 66 1300 Marathon as sedan.
DAF 66 wagon, also available as 1300 Marathon.
An overview of the DAF cars in the museum. Sedans, coupes, wagons, vans and pickups. From the first 600 to the last 46 and 66 models. They’re all there.
In the next (and last) article in this museum series we’ll have a closer look at some very rare DAF vehicles: the specialties.