31 October 2012

Collection of Wim Zegwaard

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Lot 102

1974 DAF 33 Variomatic

  • Chassis no. 74E-BL315581
  • Engine no. 3303 926298

Sold for £7,280

32 hp, 746 cc horizontally-opposed two-cylinder engine, Solex carburettor, variable ratio automatic transmission, independent front and rear suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 81 in.

• Efficient, horizontally-opposed, twin engine

• Unique automatic transmission by belts and pulleys

• 40,000 miles from new; excellent condition throughout

• Offered from the Zegwaard Collection

DAF was a small Dutch automaker founded by brothers Hubert Josef and Wim van Dorne. The company was best known for specializing in fitting automatic transmissions to small cars at a time when most other makers in the same niche offered only manual gearboxes. In fact, the transmission was quite special, as it used variable diameter pulleys and belts ranging from a low ratio of 20:1 for pulling away to 4.4:1 for the open road. These small DAF cars were equipped with fully-independent suspension and rack-and-pinion steering, which were also unusual in the lower price ranges, where the cars competed. Approximately a year after this DAF 33 was built, the company was taken over by Volvo, reportedly because of the company’s constantly variable transmission, which was so well-suited to low horsepower engines.

The DAF 33 was a direct development of the Daffodil, which was a small two-door sedan that seated four. Its power came from an air-cooled opposed Twin displacing 750-cubic centimetres and driving the rear wheels through the Variomatic automatic transmission. Available options were minimal and included a sunroof, whitewalls, and a radio. On the flat, the car would reach a cruising speed of 70 mph and return fuel economy between 32 and 40 mpg.

This particular DAF 33 has covered just 39,349 kilometres since new and is in excellent condition, gleaming in its mid-green hue. The interior is upholstered in dark tan leatherette, which appears to be original, and the large steering wheel allows a clear view of the twin instrument binnacles. It looks particularly dainty sitting on its correct 12-inch diameter steel wheels and hubcaps. These days, it is exceedingly rare to see a DAF of any kind, much less one in such superb condition.

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