When we come across something about Daf in our old editions, we spontaneously become nostalgic and even a little proud. During a tour in 2018, Bavo Galama described exactly how sentiment about Daf has changed over the years.
What is it with Daf? When the cars were for sale new, no car enthusiast would even look at them. But now they're suddenly entertaining. It happened to Bavo in 2018, and it is actually happening to us again. “To my own surprise, I look at the square tin boxes with great enthusiasm. The powerless sputtering of the two-cylinder engines brings back memories of years long past. The lack of charisma moves me more than I ever thought possible.”
Because Bavo had never driven a Daf, he rented an olive green Daf 33 from Arno Wunderink in Friesland. And who doesn't get nostalgic? Small door handles feel like you can suddenly rip them out of the door. Nice! The extremely thin levers on the dashboard - one for the windshield wiper and one for the turn signal - are not vandal-proof. Oh well, who cares.
If you are used to modern cars, the handling also takes you far back in time. For example, there is a sticker on the dashboard of the Daf with the text 'Note: long braking distance'. Bavo's intention to include a section of highway is canceled on the spot. “The Dafje should reach 115 km/h with favorable winds. But dated drum brakes and the feather-light tin casing that offers less protection than a cardboard box, make us decide otherwise.” But on the quiet back roads, none of that matters. The Daf seduces Bavo and his fiancée with an engine sound that is not hindered by dampening material and an interior that vibrates to the vibrating rhythm.
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Despite all nostalgia, a ride also invites serious reflection. Because why didn't Daf make it? That had to do with the buying public. Sales figures at home and abroad were not bad and the technology of the Variomatic transmission has been copied by just about every car manufacturer. But it was precisely that transmission that ruined it, because “its simple operation made the Daf the ideal car for anyone who was too old, too afraid or too talentless to drive a real car,” says Bavo. “The young audience kept an appropriate distance from this moving walker.” The brand's strength also became its greatest weakness.
But what about nowadays? Young people - who do not know the history at all - also appear to regularly rent a Dafje. And with their unbiased and open-minded view, they absolutely love the cars. There you have it. Has that silly Dafje still managed to attract a young audience?
This post was last modified on October 9, 2023 5:18 am
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