Tag Archives: DAF

No Wings – DAF Oldsmobile 55

In 1967 DAF made a bold move away from the aircooled powered roots for it’s motor cars and introduced it’s passenger car the “goat nimble” DAF 55 powered by a 50hp 1108cc 4 cylinder water cooled Renault engine.

DAF Oldsmobile 55, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

In one of the earliest copies of MotorSport I bought in 1973 this 5 litre / 302 cui 450 hp V8 Oldsmobile powered DAF 55 got a mention when driver Tony Hazelwood recorded a Super Saloon lap record of over 100mph at Thruxton, the year after the DAF 55 model went out of production.

DAF Oldsmobile 55, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Ray Kilminster the builder of this device took a Dutch DAF 55 Coupe shell hooked it up with suspension, brakes and transmission from a March Formula 2 single seat vehicle and then shoehorned the largest available engine into what ever space was remained, then fitted F1 spec wheels and tyres before letting it loose on the race tracks of Britain.

DAF Oldsmobile 55, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Weighing only 700 kgs the vehicle had good weight distribution, because it followed the original DAF 55 pattern of having an engine in the front and transmission in the back, the Super Saloon regulations to which this car was built mandated pretty much anything, except any variation of the original engine and transmission layout which the car was supposed to represent and aerodynamic wings.

Tony Hazelwood the original driver, seen in the top photograph about to enter the car at Goodwood Festival of Speed, restored it with some of it’s other previous owners, due to improvements in tyre technology he has had to fit stiffer springs so that the car is now faster than ever before.

More details about the car and how you could take a stake in it and or drive it are available from Tony’s website linked here.

Thanks for joining me on this “No Wings” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Tomorrow Another Life – GALPOT Automobilia

I’ve been having a bit of a clear out whilst reorganising my library and the time has come to dispose of a number of items which may be of interest through my lightpress account on e-bay.

Chevrolet Corvair

From this weeks batch of French car advertisements taken form Connaissance des Arts magazine that I have posted comes this second generation Chevrolet Corvair ad which dates from 1965. Second generation Corvairs featured minor exterior restyling and independent rear suspension in place of the patented swing axle design of the earlier cars.

FIAT 850 Coupé

Also dating from around 1965 was this Fiat 850 Coupé ad with the wonderful strap line that translates “Tomorrow Another Life”. Regular readers may remember a FIAT 850 Automatic featured in an early GALPOT blog.

Mercedes Benz 230 SL

This ‘Pagoda’ Mercedes Benz 230 SL ad from 1966 asks “Do you want test the Mercedes Benz 230 SL?” with the reponse “Maybe, but then you will lose the peace you had before trying this car”. The 230 SL replaced the 300SL and was the first Mercedes Benz to be fitted with radial construction tyres as standard.

DAF 55 Automatique

Michelotti is probably best remembered for styling numerous Triumphs including Herald / Vitesse, Spitfire / GT6, TR7 / TR8 rare Italia 2000 and exotic SIATA 400F Coupé among many others, unknown to me until I posted this ad on e-bay was the he also styled the Dutch built DAF 55 Automatique powered by a French Renault watercooled motor driving the rear wheels through a continuously variable transmission.

Jaguar XJ6

Finally appealing “for some certain style of man” is this Jaguar XJ6 ad with a photo credited to JM Kollar dating from 1970, I have posted are two further XJ6 ads dating to 1971 and 1973 when production of the Series 1 XJ6 came to an end.

Thanks for joining me on this “Tomorrow Another Life” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a sample of the vehicles that were on display at the recent Hillsbrough Concours d’Elegance. Don’t forget to come back now !


Two Pedal Open Wheeler – Tecno DAF

In 1961 the Pederzani brother sought to diversify their Tecno company from the manufacture of hydraulic pumps and take advantage of the expanding market for karts. After building the first offset sidewinder karts powered by Parilla motors their karts won the World Championships in 1964, ’65 and ’66.

Techno DAF, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

In 1966 the company started building Formula 3 cars and in 1968 Francois Cevert, Ronnie Peterson and Franco Bernabei won the French, Swedish and Italian Formula 3 championships respectively, driving cars similar to the one featured here.

Techno DAF, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

In 1965 DAF, wanting to prove the value of their Variomatic transmission system first seen in the 1959 DAF 600, bought an Alexis Formula 3 car to which they fitted a variomatic transmission but found the drive belts designed for road use could not cope with the additional stresses found on the race Techno DAF, Goodwood Festival Of Speedtrack.

Techno DAF, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

With better belts DAF returned in 1966 with a Brabham chassis for Mike Beckwith with which he scored points and a third place during the season. In 1967 the London Checkered Flag Team ran Gemini chassis for Beckwith and Gijs van Lennep and both scored victories despite the fact that it was becoming clear that the Variomatic was absorbing more power than a conventional gearbox.

Techno DAF, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

For 1968 DAF acquired a couple of Techno’s for Racing Team Halland to run, of which today’s featured car is one, with which Beckwith won his heat at the Monte Carlo F3 meeting with van Lennep following him in second. Beckwith scored a couple of more second places during the season and at the end of the year the team led the final race before the team mates Beckwith and van Lennep took each other out. DAF retired from Formula 3 having made their point.

Techno DAF, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The DAF Techno’s were powered by 1 litre / 61 cui 4 cylinder Ford MAE motors that could be tuned to develop 120 hp.

Techno DAF, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), the earliest concept of which Leornado da Vinchi is credited with, seen here is almost identical to that seen on later Volvo 300 series cars. By the 1990’s CVT belt technology had advanced to completely overcome the power absorption that had been highlighted by the DAF F3 programme. When David Coultard tested a CVT system in 1993 it was immediately so fast that the governing body of Formula One specifically banned CVT for the 1994 season before it was used on the track.

CVT also had a successful competition record in European Rallycross when mounted first in a DAF 66 Marathon Coupé and then in a Volvo 343.

Continuously Variable Transmission is available in a variety of cars today including automatic versions of the Jeep Patriot, Mitsubishi Lancer and SEAT Exeo.

Techno went on to build a championship winning Formula 2 car for Clay Regazonni in 1970 before becoming involved in a Martini Rossi sponsored F1 project for which they designed and built a flat 12 motor with cheap materials that was powerful but too heavy. The car made it’s debut in 1972 in 1973 Chris Amon scored the teams only World Championship point before the haphazardly chaotically organised team folded.

DAF Cars was taken over by Volvo in the mid 1970’s and Volvo became part of the Ford empire at the turn of the century. The Dutch NedCar factory founded in a partnership between Volvo, Mitsubishi and the Dutch Government in 1991 passed wholly in to the hands of Mitsubishi in 2001.

Mike Beckwith, who made a single non championship Formula One start in 1963, made several starts in Formula 2 and a variety of sports car races up until the end of 1970, last photo I can find of him competing was in a Citroen XM production car in 1972.

Gijs van Lennep made 8 Grand Prix starts which included two sixth place finishes including his last GP start in the 1975 German GP. 1972 proved to be van Lennep’s most successful season when he won the British F5000 championship driving a Surtees and also won the Le Mans 24 Hours sharing a Porsche 917 with Helmut Marko covering 5335 kms / 3315 miles a record that stood for 38 years.

Sharing a Porsche 911 RSR with Herbert Muller Gijs won the last Targa Florio in 1973 and in 1976 Gijs won Le Mans for the second time in his last professional race sharing a Porsche 936 with Jacky Ickx.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Two Pedal Open Wheel’ edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now.


Goat Nimble Variomatic – DAF 600 Luxe

Despite innovations like the worlds first four wheel drive car, a 60 hp Spyker, with a single engine the Dutch motor industry failed to really take off prior to the Second World War.

DAF 600 Luxe, Goodwood FoS

Prior to the war Hubert Van Doorne founded a trailer manufacturing business with finance from a brewery in 1932 Van Doorne’s Aanhangen Fabriek that was abbreviated to DAF.

DAF 600 Luxe, Goodwood FoS

In the early 1950’s after the reestablishment of DAF, now as a manufacturer of military and commercial vehicles and trailers the company became Van Doorne’s Autombiel Fabriek and Hub van Doorne set about designing a passenger vehicle.

DAF 600 Luxe, Goodwood FoS

Allegedly impressed by the Dyna Flow automatic transmission in his Buick Roadmaster, but unimpressed with it’s inefficiency Hub developed his own belt driven vacuum controlled continuously variable transmission CVT operating with centrifugal clutch, getting inspiration from the belt driven machines operating in his factory.

DAF 600 Luxe, Goodwood FoS

In 1958 the 22 hp DAF 600 with variomatic transmission was demonstrated and became the second commercially available motor car CVT, after the British Clyno system which was available from 1923 to 1927.

DAF 600 Luxe, Goodwood FoS

With additional design work attributed to Johan van der Brugghen the DAF 600 was manufactured from 1959 to 1963. Harry Walton in the December 1959 edition of Popular Science applauded the DAF 600 for it’s fully automatic drive, and positive differential action, which meant the car was unlikely to get stuck in mud, sand or snow because if one wheel slipped additional drive would automatically be transferred to the other wheel.

Harry also noted that the 600 although standing on only 12 inch wheels it had seven inches of ground clearance making it as “goat nimble on rough roads as the mourned Model T”. One thing Harry did not notice, or try as I once inadvertently did on a far more recent CVT equipped vehicle, is that it will go as fast backwards as it does forwards, all of 57 mph in the case of the DAF 600 Luxe.

Thanks for joining me on this “Goat Nimble Variomatic” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 1965 Studebaker which made an early appearance at Indianapolis. Don’t forget to come back now.