It's Not As Daft as it Seems

With their small, air-cooled engines and their "rubber band" transmissions, the Daf range of cars was possibly destined from the start to be the butt of jokes and viewed with suspicion by people with "real" cars. Yet, over 30 years since the company sold up, they still survive as an enduring (if slightly quirky) classic.

So what really was so wrong with them? As the Owners Manual for the 1972 model Daf 33 says:

By making this purchase you have come into the possession of an automobile in which the technique of the future has been realised in the present

The Citroen 2CV, long regarded as a classic collectors' car, uses a similar air-cooled 2-cylinder boxer engine. Air-cooled engines are also used in the iconic VW Beetle. No-one would laugh at those, so it can't be the engine at fault. Similarly, the styling is individual, but only enough to give the cars character - certainly not enough to alienate a public that accepted the Ford Sierra when it was launched!

What about that transmission? How could anyone seriously consider driving a car by rubber belts? They'll wear and they'll break and anyone can see it's just not sensible engineering! Yet exactly the same thing could be said about using belt-drive for an engine's camshaft and that's been done for years.

Only, if a Daf's drivebelt breaks then, at worst, you're stuck by the side of the road. If a cam-belt breaks you have a very good chance of needing a new engine. Routine replacement of a Daf's belts is also quicker, easier and less expensive than most cam-belts - it's actually classed as "owner maintenance" in the manuals!

Considering the above, you may start to wonder if the Daf range really were as Daft as their image. Or, maybe, just a little bit too "technique of the future" for their own good.

Contact us