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Its main offices and plant are in Eindhoven. Cabs and axle assemblies are produced at its Westerlo plant in Belgium. Some of the truck models sold with the DAF brand are designed and built by Leyland Trucks at their plant in England.
- 1928 April 1: Huub van Doorne founded the "Commanditaire Vennootschap Huub van Doorne's Machinefabriek". This workshop's co-founder and investor was Huenges, managing director of a brewery. Huub van Doorne had repaired Huenges's car several times. Huenges was so pleased with his work that he offered to lend him money if he wanted to start for his own. Huub started to work in a small workshop on the grounds of the brewery.
- 1932: The company, now by Huub and Wim van Doorne, changed its name to Van Doorne's Aanhangwagen Fabriek (Van Doorne's Trailer Factory), abbreviated DAF.
- 1936: Huenges left. The DAF company was now completely in the hands of Huub and Wim van Doorne.
- 1945: After the Second World War, luxury cars and trucks were very scarce. This meant a big opportunity for DAF.
- 1949: The company started making trucks and trailers and buses, changing its name to Van Doorne's Automobiel Fabriek (Van Doorne's Automobile Factory). Its first truck model was the DAF A30.
- 1954 winter: Huub van Doorne had the idea to use drive belts, just like many of the machines in the factory that were belt-driven.
- 1955 February: *DAF's first drafts of a car belt drive. Huub van Doorne contemplated a 250 cc two-cylinder engine in the back to propel the back axle directly by means of belts. The idea was hard to realize in practice. The next proposal was a three-seater with a 250 cc two-cylinder engine in the front and the transmission underneath the back seat, driving the rear wheels. Huub liked this project, called 355, but his brother Wim thought the car was too small. They decided to build a four-seater, and project 455 got underway. In the meantime, the development of the variomatic transmission continued.
- 1955 September: The designer W. van den Brink presented a design for a four-seater. It was decided to maintain its lines, but to make it larger.
- 1956 February: An experimental version of the variomatic transmission was built into a Lloyd LP400. The first two production cars were made. This car was used for extensive testing, and because the outward appearance was unchanged, the car did not attract attention.
- 1956 September 9: The first car was ready.
- 1957: A batch of pre-production cars was built for publicity reasons mainly.
- 1957: DAF started making their own engines.
- 1958 February: This car was presented to the public on the Dutch car show (the AutoRAI). The reactions where overwhelming, 4000 cars were ordered.
- 1958 March 23: The first two production cars rolled off the assembly line.
- 1959: The first 600s were made.
- 1975: The division of DAF producing passenger cars was sold to the Swedish company Volvo Cars, leaving DAF to concentrate on its successful line of trucks. The car factory is currently 100% owned by Mitsubishi Motors and is known as Netherlands Car B.V or NedCar.
- The economical situation and the success of the DAF trucks made it possible for Huub van Doorne to realize his dream: making a luxury car. He wanted to develop a car that was affordable by the common man. Experimental Variomatic He wanted to equip the car with an automatic gearbox, because he loved it in his Buick Dynaflow. But such a traditional transmission was too big and too complex to fit in a small car.
- 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 UK, and as DAF elsewhere.
- 1988: Two trucks were entered into the Paris-Dakar rally. Jan de Rooy's truck was at a certain stage at the third place overall (!), beating the Peugeot 405 T16's on speed. The other truck, driver by Van Loevestijn, was involved in a crash in which he died, and almost taking the lives of the other 2 occupants of the truck. DAF withdrew.
- 1988: DAF's successful 95 series was introduced, bringing DAF their first "truck of the year" title. This series of trucks was expanded, with the 85, 75, 65, 45 and later the 55.
- 1993: DAF NV went bankrupt. 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 UK.
- 1996: PACCAR acquired DAF Trucks.
- 1996: By now DAF had entered the European Truck Racing championship. The first two years they struggled, but in their last year, 1999, they almost won the championship. Partly because of the high costs involved in the ETRC, DAF stopped racing it. By then they introduced the successor to the 95, the 95XF, which became truck of the year. This series was expanded.
- 1998: PACCAR acquired Leyland Trucks.
- 2002: Their entire range was renewed, with the LF (LF45 and LF55), CF (CF65, CF75 and CF85) and DAF XF (XF95) range.
- 2002: The LF was the truck of the year 2002.
- 2006: The LF and CF series were minimally upgraded to signify the difference between the new model with Euro 4 engines. The XF95 was also superseded by a new model, the XF105 which will be produced alongside its older counterpart until September when the XF95's engine will no longer meet the strict European emission legislation.
- 2006: The new DAF model XF 105 is rewarded with the "International Truck of the Year 2007" award
All of DAF's cars were fitted with the company's Variomatic transmission. The first passenger car, assigned the model number 600, created a sensation when a prototype was presented in 1958. The first 600s rolled off the production line in the following year. The next model was the 750, featuring a larger engine.
Later, DAF produced a 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 release of the 44, a middle-class vehicle designed by Michelotti. Model DAF 55 carried a bigger 1100cc engine derived from the Renault 8. The last two passenger cars released by DAF before the car division's sale to Volvo were the DAF 46 and DAF 66 (although Volvo continued the sale of these, with the 66 rebadged as the Volvo 66). The Volvo 300 series, introduced in 1976 had been designed as a DAF, but for the first time also suitable for a manual gearbox. However, it was first featured by Volvo with the Variomatic transmission. After the introduction of the manual gearbox in 1978, the 5-door body and 2 litre engine in 1979, the model range eventually started to sell and was one of the economic pillars under Volvo in the eighties. In the end more than 1.3 million units were built.
Prototypes and special cars
For a small company, DAF made a huge amount of prototypes. Also, famous coach builders like Michelotti and OSI made cars based on the DAF technique. For instance, the OSI City Car, which turned into a miniature. DAF's last prototype, the DAF 77, became the Volvo 343, which sold about 1.3 million units.
- 1949: DAF produced their first truck, the A30.
- This truck was upgraded in the following years. Their first attempt into the international market was a failure, the 2000DO. Their next truck was the 2600, which became a big seller. They also produced a so-called torpedo-front tractor. In the 1970s a new body style was introduced, which was upgraded into the late 1980s. DAF was also one of the first to introduce a turbocharged diesel engine into their trucks, which in these years became very evident with their 3600. In the 1980s, DAF competed in the Paris-Dakar rally, winning with Jan de Rooy in 1982, 1985, and 1987.
- 1996: DAF started competing in the European Truck Race series, first not very successful, but by 1999 almost champion. To everyone's surprise, they withdrew.
- 2002: DAF competed in the Dakar Rally, with Jan de Rooy and his son Gerard. It was a learning year.
- 2003: DAF competed in the Paris-Dakar rally, winning numerous stages, but Gerard crashed out and Jan had a lot of problems.
- 2004: DAF competed in the Paris-Dakar rally, powering six racetrucks. Jan en Gerard de Rooy, the team Tridec, The team Hans Bekx with 2 teams and the GINAF Rally Power team (Note that 4 trucks were build by DAF, 2 by Ginaf).
- 2005: Hans Bekx almost became second overall in the truck division, before being thrown out of the list because of an irregularity, something which the (especially Dutch) racing fans could not imagine.
- 2006: Jan and Gerard de Rooij were excluded from the Dakar because of paperwork issues. Numerous rumours claim that the Kamaz team has used its influence in the Dakar organisation in this matter. It lead to a huge fall in popularity of the event in the Benelux.
- There is a DAF LF45 hybrid version.
DAF cars had the image of being slow. The company tried to change this image with entries in rallies and races, such as their entry in the London-Sydney Marathon. This lead to an increase in sales, but not as much as the management had hoped for. The company also competed with a F3 car.
- 1980's: DAF trucks started with the Dakar Rally, winning in 1982, 85 and 87. In the later years, they had a twin engine truck, with a combined power output of more than 1000 hp.
- 1993: A Williams Formula 1 car was not allowed to race, because it had the Van Doorne's CVT drive. If that car had raced, it would have been more than a full second per lap faster than the competition. As Williams was the leading team already at the time, the F1 management decided to forbid the technology. It would have been the first time a technical development introduced in a road car would be used in a race car, instead of the other way round.
- Dump truck, semi-trailer truck, tractor unit.
- Leyland Trucks
- Leyland DAF
- DAF NV
- VDL Bus International
- Pegaso Troner
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|
- Official DAF Website
- Daf Club Nederland Official Dutch Daf and other variomatic cars owners club
- The (official) DAF museum, Eindhoven (site in Dutch) — complete with "DAFeteria" for refreshments
- DAF Oldtimer Truck Club website
- Dmbmodels.euDAF model website
- Official Hans Bekx Dakar website (site in Dutch)
- DAF cars at RitzSite Classic Cars
- DeAutogids.nl about DAF (site in Dutch)
- Classic DAF website