As far as eternal struggles go, DAF vs. FAF ranks right up there with good vs. evil and bong vs. blunt. DAF finally won that original fight, but will today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe 66 trucklet extend the streak?
Headquartered in Eindhoven, Netherlands, DAF has long been known for their commercial trucks, military vehicles, and the first automotive application of the continuously variable transmission, the Variomatic. Common today, and yet another nail in the coffin of the manual gearbox, the CVT took decades to make the jump from riding mower to mainstream automotive application due to its inherent fragility and inability to handling anything more than a flea's flatus worth of horsepower. Modern metallurgical advancements have overcome those limitations, but back in 1959, when DAF first set CVT to cement, the twin-rubber belt transmission received its marching orders from a 600-cc aircooled flat twin that put out a meager 22-bhp. Over the next decade, larger versions of that engine, as well as Renault Cléon four-cylinders were made available, as the Variomatic was engineered to be more robust, and less like part of a dime store wind-up balsa airplane.
This 1974 DAF 66YA has that French four, which also powered the Rs five and nine - as well as others - here in the states. The 1108-cc engine was shared with the precedent 55, but the rear suspension on the 66 was all new, replacing coil sprung swing axles and dual-belt differential action with a De Dion and leaf spring set up, and a real diff. That wasn't enough to keep DAF in the car biz, and the same year this YA was inducted into the Dutch military, DAF sold their car operations to Volvo. Yorgdy, vorgdy, vordgy.
DAFs are rare enough here in the States, the Daffodil only being briefly sold here, but the not-for-U.S. YA military version is a real Dutch treat, this particular car likely being the only one here. The 66 got boxy but mundane ‘70s bodywork care of Giovanni Michelotti, however the YA gets its own cut-down jeep-like architecture, including slab sides and doors and top made out of fabric. Inside, the dashboard is knee-cracking steel, and upon it are dropped three gauges that are dwarfed by the wart-like wiper motor ahead of the three-spoke steering wheel. The rest of the interior is hose-worthy, with seats as uncompromisingly flat and featureless as the Nordic snow. The seller claims just under 80K on the clock, all done without a stepped gear change. The CVT that made that possible lies flat in the back, affording a narrow tunnel between the footwells and protection from a snapped tranny band flying off and taking out your nuts.
Speaking of nuts, you might have to be to think about maintaining the fragile and rare CVT, as well as the rest of this hen's tooth of a truck. But some people are up to such a challenge, some actively seek them out, and thrive on the opportunity. For those, finding a replacement centrifugal clutch or worn brake shoe isn't just a daunting task, its a grail quest that proves virility. If we existed in an era where we all lived in caves and farting was the height of musical achievement, these individuals would be the hunter/gatherers bringing back fresh unicorn daily while everybody else was finding nothing more than rancid skunk butt. Owning and preserving this DAF would be just as Herculean a task, and no one would ever question your virility whilst driving it. Plus, it comes from the company that made the Daffodil!
So, historically significant, militarily strategic, and more testosterone imbuing than having your peen noted by the Guinness Book, this DAF 66YA will be the hit of any Volvo, DAF, orphan, or military car show. Sure, getting there will be slow - with only 44-hp, the zero to sixty time on the 66 could be calculated using the Saturnian calendar - but top-off cruising on a Sunday afternoon, with the transmission constantly velociting behind you, would be pretty sweet.
But would it be $6,500 sweet? That's the Buy it Now on this DAF, and now it's up to you to stop being continuously variable about it and settle on whether that's a decent price. What do you think, is it worth it, or is that price DAF-fy?
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