DAF Trucks NV is a PACCAR division and a truck making company based in Eindhoven, Netherlands, where its headquarters and main factory are located. Axle assemblies and cabs are manufactured at a Belgium-based plant. Interestingly, some of DAF-branded trucks are designed and produced by Leyland Trucks at its Farington facility in England.
The company's first passenger car, premiered in 1958, was a huge success. Numbered 600, the vehicle had a unitary steel construction that featured an air-cooled two-cylinder boxer engine and a unique rear wheel drive with a centrifugal clutch and a veriomatic CVT transmission. Thanks to this, the drive belts took up the speed difference in the corners, removing the need for a differential. The car also sported complete independent suspension, with a coil-sprung semi-trailing arm design at the back and a transverse leaf spring and McPherson struts at the front. The first version was soon followed by the 750 model with a more powerful 745 cc engine.
In a few years, DAF rolled out a more luxurious car, the Daffodil. The series included three models, the DAF 30, DAF 31 and DAF 32. The number of the latter was altered to 33 following the launch of the larger middle-class automobile DAF 44 designed by Giovanni Michelotti. The new model was totally overhauled, both externally and internally, but had the same A-type layout. The only difference was an enhanced two-cylinder 850cc engine. The company also switched from semi-trailing arms to a full swing axle design of the rear axle.
The DAF 55, introduced in 1986, featured a larger water-cooled 1,108 cc OHV four-cylinder engine based on the Renault 8 Cleon egine. It had a slightly different design than the previous model. In particular, its front part packed a longer engine and radiator and bigger taillights. The interior, for its part, became plusher. The company also modified the front suspension, replacing a transverse leaf spring with McPherson struts complete with an antiroll bar and torsion springs.
Finally, the firm rolled out the DAF 66, which had new, boxy front styling and a revamped rear axle design. The designers changed the swing axle design to a leaf sprung de Dion-axle, which was a significant improvement over the previous versions.
In the early '70s, DAF was bought out by Volvo that also took over the NedCar plant. The new brass pulled the 33 and 44 models from production and rebranded the latest vehicle as the Volvo 66, adding a safety steering wheel and increasing the bumper size. At the time, DAF started working on the 46 model, which was a slightly remade version of the 44 with a single-belt variomatic and the rear axle of the 66. However, this model had a serious flaw, as a failed drive belt would prevent the driver from fully controlling the car. The Volvo 300 series that arrived in 1976 took obvious cues from DAF cars, most obviously their 66-like variomatic transmission.
The Dutch vehicle builder created a great number of prototypes. The company's technologies inspired prominent coach builder
Giovanni Michelotti to design the Shellette beach car, which was later revamped with Fiat 850 underpinnings. OSI borrowed some of DAF ideas too and implemented them in the miniature City Car. The company's last project, the DAF 77, rolled out as the Volvo 343, which saw record sales of 1.3 million units.
List of All Models of Daf (170)