DAF 600 Proto #13
This is one of the secret DAF prototypes that hit the road fully camouflaged in 1957, to be subjected to a stringent testing programme.
The small sign on which the prototype number has been written in chalk, still hangs on the rear-view mirror and the boot still holds the bags of sand which were added to give the car extra weight. In 1958 the DAF 600 caused a sensation at the AutoRAI (the Amsterdam Motor Show), with its highly advanced continuously variable transmission, known as the Variomatic. Production started a year later.
In the 1930s the factory of the brothers Hub and Wim van Doorne manufactured trailers and semi-trailers under the name Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagen Fabriek, hence the DAF acronym. After the war, the factory produced its first trucks. In the 1950s Hub acquired an American car with an automatic gearbox, which inspired him to apply a similar system to a smaller car. He developed an automatic transmission system with belts and pulleys, which he fitted in a passenger car.
The system was very advanced, but the ease of handling made the DAF particularly attractive to senior citizens.
Even rally successes and the attractive Italian designs introduced a little later could not improve the car’s image. DAF’s passenger car division was sold to Volvo in 1975.