Saturday, April 24, 2010

1974 DAF 66YA

There are days, sometimes weeks, where I wonder if I have found and written about all the cool, unusual or bizarre cars in America. I wonder if there will come a time when I'll be forced to write about Hyundai Excels. ("Made in Korea. Not a lot of fun to drive." End of post.) Then something like this comes along and my faith in still being able to find automotive obscurity is restored...

The is a 1974 DAF 66 YA. A little DAF history...

DAF was a Dutch truck manufacturing company founded in 1928. DAF stands for vanDoorne's Aanhangwagen Fabriek, which means vanDoorne's Trailer Factory. The first car they introduced was the 600 in 1959. It had an aircooled two cylinder engine and was rear wheel drive. What made this car special though, was it's transmission. It was called the Variomatic and was the worlds first production CVT. (Subaru later used a CVT, but it didn't sell well. Audi offers one in their A4 and BMW puts them in Minis. They're supposedly fun to drive. I have yet to have the pleasure.) Probably the car DAF is best known for, at least here in the US, where it was briefly sold, was the Daffodil. In 1975 Volvo acquired DAF and eventually the brand disappeared. The DAF truck line still exists and, after having been part of International Harvester and later Leyland, is now a division of US truck manufacturer, PACCAR (Kenworth, Peterbuilt).

This car is a Dutch military vehicle. It's based on the DAF 66, a passenger vehicle. The main differences between the two are an upgraded suspension and a "military" body with no roof. (Which never made much sense to me. This vehicle, the original Jeep, the military Land Rover, all small military vehicles, have convertible tops. Wouldn't you want a steel roof to stop - or at least slow down - bullets, shrapnel, etc.?) The 66 did not use a 2 cylinder air-cooled engine like some of its predecessors, but had the ubiquitous Renault 1108cc 4 in it. Its rear suspension was leaf springs with a De Dion tube and not swing axles like earlier DAFs.

This car has the Variomatic CVT transmission. These were not durable transmissions and I suspect getting parts for them isn't easy. The interior is typical military austere. It looks to be in good shape. The body is a tough call. It looks to have some ripples in it, but that could be the way the picture was taken or minor dents. However, it could also be Bondo covered rust, so it would be worth checking it out in person. There are mismatched - awful looking - wheel covers on it, which should be replaced immediately. As much as I'm a big fan of originality, I'd paint this car another color. I'm thinking that British Racing Green or a deep maroon would look great.

I really don't know what else to say about this car. The only reason to own it is for it's uniqueness. As the seller (a dealer whose slogan is "We covet the rare and unusual, whether pedigreed or proletarian".) writes, "Be welcome at the Volvo meet and the French Car Club as well as he Spring Daffodil festival. You will definitely be the only one on your block." Most likely you'll be the only one in your time zone to own one.

Located in Seattle WA, click here to see the eBay listing.

The DAF Owners Club (UK) has a lot of great pictures and info about all DAFs. You can find it here.

7 comments:

Jon said...

OK, OK... sometimes you can't resist.

1. It's daffy...

2. Free plow frame with the Buy It Now...

3. If the plastic rear "windows" get any more discolored, you can splice in shower curtains...

4. Dutch Hummer...

5. Rat Patrol...

etc.

Just A Car Geek said...

When they were being sold in the US they used the slogans "Even you can drive a DAF." and "THE car for young and old 'moderns' with an eye for style".

Me? I would have used "Wanna good laugh? Buy a DAF!"

The CVT is pretty cool, though. The cars had no driveshaft or differential. Just two belts from the transmission to the rear wheels. Top speed was around 60 MPH.

Dave

Jon said...

From what I read, the CVT was really a weakpoint on these vehicles. I also read on Jalopnik that the Dutch military is made up of conscripts. Apparently the kids took their frustrations out on these DAFs and beat them into the ground.

I think this model had a 24 volt system as well.

Max Power said...

Wow....what a find! I believe that after Volvo absorbed DAF, they sold the 66 as a Volvo. And if I am not mistaken, the 343 was developed by DAF but introduced as a Volvo.

As far as CVT's in a MINI...not fun...not fun at all. I had a 2003 MINI Cooper S with a 6 spd manual and when it was in for an extensive power steering issue, the dealer gave me a regular MINI with a CVT loaner. With any sort of acceleration it always felt like I was riding the clutch. While I am not a fan of automatics in general, there is no way I would get a CVT after that experience. I still do not understand why manufacturers bother with them...usually any gain in mileage is like 1 MPG. How is that worth the lousy driving experience. OK....end rant

Matt Cotton said...

There are good and bad CVTs and DAF know how to make a good one. Newer CVTs make the car sound wrong!

Anonymous said...

interesting, this particular car used to be owned by me !
it went to the u.s. some 5 years ago . it was a good car than , so might stil be now .
if you are keen to know more about it you can e mail me at stormboy33 gmail.com . ask me no complex tech info I don,t know that . but its history I do know which might be interesting for a new owner who wonders where it came from.

Anonymous said...

lets post that e mail address again,it did not show right
stormboy33Agmail.com ,replace the A by @