Here's Pretty Much Every Weird Car Thing Possible In One Vehicle

Let's just go down the list: Dutch, mid-engined, amphibious, double-ended, drivable from either end, four-wheel steering, four-wheel drive. Ok, it's not rotary-engined, or air-cooled, sure, but it's not bad. It's the DAF-139 prototype.

Developed right before WWII for the Dutch army, this strange push me-pull you beast used a Citröen 1911cc (from a Traction Avant, most likely) set right there in the middle, and then DAF proceeded to build a pair of front ends on either side of it, like bookends.

Here's Pretty Much Every Weird Car Thing Possible In One Vehicle

The end result was a 4WD vehicle that could be driven from either end, thanks to duplicate sets of steering mechanisms. The "rear" one could be locked (which you can only tell because it's the end without headlights) to make driving less, um, serpentine.

Either direction had full access to all forward gears, and — this is really clever — if you put both ends into reverse, the car will drive forward with the extra reduction of the additional reverse gear, giving the car an ultra-low gear range. That low gearing would allow the 139 to climb slopes up to 30°.

Here's Pretty Much Every Weird Car Thing Possible In One Vehicle

You'd think that'd be plenty for DAF's apparent goal of making the weirdest vehicle possible, but that just wasn't enough for those wood-shod kooks. You can drive it in the water as well, because of course you can. Using a propeller driven from the differential ring gear, the DAF-139 could make a healthy 5 MPH in the wet.

Here's Pretty Much Every Weird Car Thing Possible In One Vehicle

Sadly, the 139 was destroyed in 1940 when the Netherlands entered WWII, in order to keep it out of enemy hands. As sad as it is to see such a bizarre car destroyed, it's probably for the best. Nazis with double-ended, French-engined, swimming off-roaders would probably have ended up with a swastika on the moon or something.

(Pictures courtesy DAF Museum, and I just saw this car showed up on Oppo recently!)