Wednesday 23rd May 1979
Hubert van Doorne (79), founder of Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagenfabriek (Trailer factory) and of Van Doorne’s Automobielfabriek (vehicle factory) known, especially to non-Dutch speakers, as DAF, together with his brother Willem (Wim) van Doorne, died. Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagen Fabriek started producing trailers in Einhoven by 1949, DAF were also producing tractor units (trucks) for their trailers to be used with. In this field they introduced a number of revolutionary concepts including the demount container trailer and the automatic “fifth wheel” coupling. Daf cars arrived at the 1958 Amsterdam show (the AutoRIA) with the unveiling of a small four seater using a continuously variable, belt driven, transmission which Hub van Doorne had first thought of around 1952. After six years of development, it was successful enough to gain a positive reaction from show visitors and the Daf 600 Daffodil was released onto the market in 1959 complete with it’s Variomatic continuously variable transmission. The Daf 33 of 1962 was very similar, with bodywork subtly revamped by Michelotti. The engine was essentially the same 2 cylinder, air cooled, boxer unit but with an increase to 746 cc. Michelotti was also tasked with the fully redesigned bodywork of the Daf 44 in 1967. This was the first of the “B Bodied” models and still used the same basic engine, but with a longer stroke crank to give 844cc capacity – an extra 10 teaspoons per cylinder of raw power! The Daf 55 of 1968 used the new B body with a more conventional 1106cc Renault 4 cylinder, watercooled inline, engine. This was the basis of the successful 55 Marathon rally car – still with Variomatic belt driven transmission!