DAF Trucks NV is a Dutch truck producing company and a division of Paccar. Some of the truck models sold with the DAF brand are designed and built by Leyland Trucks at their Farington plant in Leyland near Preston, England. In 1928, Hubert Jozef van Doorne founded the company as Commanditaire Vennootschap Hub van Doorne’s Machinefabriek. In 1932, the company, now run by Hub and his brother, Wim van Doorne, changed its name to Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagen Fabriek, abbreviated to DAF.
Hubert Jozef van Doorne
Huenges left the company in 1936 and the DAF company was now completely in the hands of the van Doorne brothers. DAF developed the Trado conversions to convert 4×2 Ford trucks to an off road 6×4 drive. One of DAF’s few armoured vehicles was the M39 Pantserwagen, using developments of this Trado drivetrain. This was too late for WWII and the invasion of the Netherlands, and only three saw combat. After the Second World War, luxury cars and lorries were very scarce, this was a big opportunity for DAF.
In 1949, the company started making lorries, trailers and buses, changing its name to Van Doorne’s Automobiel Fabriek. The first lorry model was the DAF A30. In the 1950s, DAF was a major supplier to the re equipping of the Dutch Army’s softskin vehicles, with models such as the DAF YA-126 and DAF YA-328 ‘Dikke Daf’. These used the all wheel drive H-drive developed from the Trado conversions. In the end of 1954, just like many of the machines in the factory, Hub van Doorne had the idea to use belt drive to drive road vehicles.
Also, in 1955, DAF produced its first drafts of a car belt drive system. In February 1958, DAF demonstrated a small belt driven four seater car at the AutoRAI. In 1959, DAF started selling the world’s first car with a continuously variable transmission, the small four seater DAF 600. This was the first of a series of models to be released in subsequent years, including the DAF 33, DAF 44, DAF 55 and DAF 66, all using the innovative Variomatic transmission system.
In 1972, International Harvester of Chicago, IL bought a 33% stake in DAF, forming a joint venture. DAF sold its passenger car division, along with what is now the NedCar factory in Born. In 1975 to the Swedish company Volvo Cars, leaving DAF to concentrate on its successful line of lorries. In 1987, DAF merged with the Leyland Trucks division of Rover Group. And was floated on the Dutch stock exchange as DAF NV. The new company traded as Leyland DAF in the United Kingdom. In 1990, DAF Bus was split off to become a part of United Bus.
A new company, DAF Trucks, appeared in the Netherlands as a result of a management buy-out of the Dutch operations, as did Leyland Trucks and LDV (vans) in the United Kingdom. In October 1996, PACCAR acquired DAF Trucks. In 1998, DAF Trucks and Leyland Trucks were rejoined when PACCAR also acquired Leyland Trucks.
The first DAF car was produced, known as the DAF 600 in the year 1959. DAF 600 had a unitary steel construction, with a front mounted, air cooled two cylinder boxer engine driving the rear wheels through a centrifugal clutch and the Variomatic CVT transmission. The car had independent suspension all round, with MacPherson struts and a transverse leaf spring at the front and a coil sprung semi trailing arm design at the rear. The next model was the 750, featuring a larger 749 cc (45.7 cu in) twin. Later, DAF produced a more luxurious type called the Daffodil, divided into three models assigned the numbers DAF 30, DAF 31 and DAF 32.
The designation 32 was changed to 33 upon the 1966 release of the 44. A larger middle class vehicle designed by Giovanni Michelotti. The 44 was featured with the completely new design aesthetically as well as mechanically. But was of the same layout as the “A type’s” with the main difference being its 850 cc two cylinder engine. And its full swing axle rear axle design as opposed to the A type semi trailing arms.
In 1968, DAF 55 was carried out with the bigger water cooled 1,108 cc OHV four cylinder engine derived from the Renault 8 Cleon engine. DAF 55 body design was altered from the DAF 44 by a new front which accommodated the larger engine and radiator, bigger taillights, and a more plush interior. In 1972, the DAF 66 was introduced as a successor to the DAF 55. It is featured with the boxy styling of the front, and a new rear axle design. It was a major improvement over the (tricky) handling of the swing axles of the earlier 33, 44 and 55 models.
In December 1972, Volvo gained a 33 percent stake in DAF. Volvo increased their holdings to 75% on 1 January 1975, taking over the company and the NedCar plant. Later, Volvo rebadged the DAF 66 as the Volvo 66, with bigger bumpers and a safety steering wheel. In 2001, the subsequent Volvo 440/460/480 and the first generation S40/V40 models were also made at the NedCar plant, until Volvo sold its interest to Mitsubishi Motors. Nowadays, the plant is now owned by VDL NedCar, and contract manufactures certain MINI models for BMW.
In the year 1949, DAF produced their first lorry, the A30. In 1964, DAF launched the next lorry, 2600, this was the big seller with its well equipped but practical cabin. They also produced a so called torpedo front tractor. In the 1970s, a new modular tilting cab called the F218 was introduced on the F1600/F2000 range of vehicles. In 1973, the wider F241, which featured DAF’s characteristic three wiper windscreen, was introduced as the DAF 2800. There was also a lighter, narrower version called the F198 which was introduced in 1972 on the F1200 and F1400, but this short lived model was replaced after only three years.
DAF was one of the first who introduced an intercooled turbocharged diesel engine into their lorries. In 1987, DAF’s 95 series was launched and was quickly gained the coveted ‘Truck of The Year’ award. The 95 Series was featured an all new cab developed jointly with ENASA of Spain. A revised version of the 11.6 litre ATI engine, rated at 310, 350, and 380 Bhp, and 16 speed ZF gearbox.
Super Space Cab
DAF unveiled the 95.500 Super Space Cab at the 1994 RAI show. The 95 series cabin had gained height and length, and sat atop Cummins’ 14 litre N14, rated at 507 Bhp. ZF’s new Aluminium cased 16S221 gearbox was fitted, with optional Intarder, an innovation was the hydraulic gearshift developed with Konsberg of Norway. The 95.500 was available as a 4×2 tractor or drawbar rigid, with LHD only, though the Super Space Cab was available on 11.6 litre engined models, and sold well.
In the end of 1992, all new medium to heavyweight line up debuted. The 65, 75 and 85 utilising the same wedge shaped cab which are powered by DAF’s 6.24-litre (381 cu in). 8.65-litre (528 cu in) and 11.6-litre (710 cu in) engines, some novel styling details featured. While the 85 Series’ cab sat 10 cm (3.94 in) higher on the chassis to clear the WS engine.