The DAF brand is still active in the trucks sector today, whilst the car division has been inactive for many years and, in this article, we will talk about the first car model produced by the brand.
Starting from the beginning, DAF was founded in 1928 by brothers Hubertus and Win van Doorne and for many years the company specialized in building trailers and military vehicles before moving on to the production of industrial vehicles.
Following the Second World War, In 1949 DAF built a new plant in Eindhoven for the production of heavy vehicles then subsequently, in the 1950s, the van Doorne brothers thought about entering into the car world with an economical and easy-to-drive car. In 1958, at the Amsterdam automobile show, the 600 model was presented, characterized by its small size – it was 3.61 metres long – and with pleasing lines and a roomy interior.
As for the engine, the car was powered by a 590 cc air-cooled twin-cylinder boxer motor producing 22 bhp, but the real novelty that characterized the car, and all subsequent DAF cars, was the CVT continuously variable transmission called Variomatic, which made the small Dutch cars unique and created a market niche for them, especially for handicapped people. The DAF 600 was the first car since the 1920 Cyno to offer this type of automatic transmission. It was proposed with various different types of bodywork, from the two-door car to the Combi and finally as a pick-up version. It was produced successfully from 1959 to 1963.
Regarding the automotive history of the DAF car division, it continued activities until 1975, when Volvo, already a majority shareholder since 1972, acquired the car division and made the cars part of their own range and marketed them under their own name, ending the adventure of the innovative Dutch company.
The heavy vehicles division, or DAF Trucks, as mentioned at the start, still exists today and to find more information the model range can be found here.
Text by Tommaso Lai
Translation by Norman Hawkes
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