Dutch Redo: 1961 DAF 600

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“Hello, NAPA? Yeah, I’ve got a 1961 DAF 600 and… click. Hello? Hello? This yellow example is in Youngstown, New York and it can be found on eBay with six days left to get your bids in on it. The current bid is $350.67, oddly enough, and there is no reserve so this one is going to the highest bidder.

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New York and New Jersey had 52 DAF dealerships in 1961 and they took in 176 DAF 600s, this has to be one of them. I’m bummed that there are no 3/4 photos of this car, I think that’s the coolest angle, but there are only two straight-on side photos and one front photo as far as exteriors go. As you can tell from the front photo, and the others, this car isn’t dead-straight. It looks like it may have been “restored”, so to speak, at some point. Actually, there is also a photo showing a tire and hub cap, in case you were wondering what those looked like up close.. The 600 was the predecessor to the Daffodil, which is a name that would have never worked in the US, somewhat similar to the Datsun Fairlady, etc. We need manly names here, like Ford Mustang, AMC Javelin, Dodge La Femme.. hey, wait a minute.

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The last DAF on Barn Finds was, coincidentally enough, this same exact car!! It was written up by our own Jesse back in August of 2014. Ahhh.. to be two years younger.. How nutso is that to have this same car for sale two years later and nobody has written up a DAF since then? Not even me?! Maybe there’s a reason for that.. In any case, this one looks like it needs a lot of help. In my world, an unusual little car like this has to be a jewel box and I’m not sure if the restoration costs would be worth it on this car with so much work needed, but is it really ever worth it, monetarily? Maybe on a Bugatti or similar Pebble-Beach-bound classic, but it’s rarely a money-making proposition to restore a vehicle. This car sold for $3,000 back in 2014 and then a non-paying bidder forced the seller to relist it, and then they accepted an unknown offer for it. What a soap opera!

You can see that the interior may have looked ok at some point in time, and the backseat probably looks pretty nice still, but this car needs a lot of help inside, too. If you’re like me, when you buy a vehicle you have to search for original literature to go with it.

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The ticker looks pretty interesting here, other than the weird, looping-tangle of hoses and wires. This is a 590 CC (hence the “600” moniker) flat-twin. I love these oddball engines! Actually, I love all engines, but these two and three-cylinder engines get to me. This car has the famous Variomatic transmission, an ingenious design that has been tweaked perfected and is used throughout the auto industry today. We have two cars with a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) now and they work great, the mpg is incredible, and there’s no jerking from gear to gear. It’s like a double-snowmobile-belt system on the DAF, sort of. DAF was one of the first (whenever a person says “the first” it usually causes trouble) automaker to use this system in production cars.

This car looks fairly rough to me, I wonder what it will sell for this time? I would absolutely love to have a DAF 600 someday, but this is more of a project than I’d be looking for at this time. What do you think, is this one worth saving?

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Comments

  1. wynkin

    From memory at one time this car was the quickest car to 10mph due to the VVT.

    • Olaf E

      We in Holland call that ‘het pientere pookje’.

  2. Gerry Member

    looks a lot like the early Toyota Publica
    The engine is almost identical in appearance although if it is air cooled like the Toyota it is missing all of its cylinder tins and fan probably won’t stay very cool without them.

  3. Cubswin

    Perfect clown car!

  4. Fred W.

    I remember leafing through the JC Whitney and Warshausky (remember that one?) catalogs as a kid and noticing oddballs like Borgward and DAF. 40 years later I finally see what one looks like. Not sure it was worth the wait!

  5. Howard A Member

    Cute little thing, if you live in a “gated community” or VERY small town. I can only imagine what a vehicle with maybe 15 hp and a “slips-a-lot” transmission would perform like, especially with 4 people. I did find a video of the drive system in operation. I love snowmobiling, but always thought, and still do, the drive belt was/is the “achilles heel” of a snowmobile, and can’t imagine a vehicle with TWO belts, but it seems to work pretty well, as seen here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLuSCpDJ4Xs
    Now, to finish Scotty’s opening line, “Hello NAPA, how may I help you”. “Um, Hi, I need a distributor cap for a 1961 DAF 600? ( 12 minutes later) You Do? HOW MUCH???” (click)

  6. IdL

    An elegant clip of the DAF variomatic transmission in action can be seen here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NeyoNdsHTI
    Added bonus for this system was that you could drive in reverse as fast as forward. Hence, in the eighties many DAFs were totalled in a hilarious ‘reverse race’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7ipFApsFec

    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      That just made my day! Thanks for sharing those videos!

    • Ed P

      So, the last car running is the winner?

      • Olaf E

        Yep, but finish in reverse.

    • Olaf E

      I grew up with those races, have send Daf finds andthe same clips to Barnfinds more than once but no responce.

  7. Ben T. Spanner

    I believe the King Midget, built in Athens, Ohio,(or built at your house as a kit), also had a belt and pulley transmission.
    Holland is nice and flat and not much power is needed. Athens Ohio is hilly and all factory built King Midgets were road tested on one particular hill. With 12 or so horsepower they weren’t breaking the in town speed limit up hill.

    • Olaf E

      These Daf didn’t run in Holland only, they were sold/driven in other (European) countries too. Doesn’t mean this was the perfect car in the hills.

      Also, please note the 600 produced 22 horsepower, almost double your estimate! :)

  8. Scott

    Looks like something my granddaughter doodled on the church bulletin a few weeks ago. Guess I should mention she just turned three in June.

  9. Andrew

    They also came in a van and a pickup or ute model, although the rarest form of them all.

  10. Mark-A

    Wasn’t the Transmission in these a CVT which meant that they could go as fast Backwards as Forwards? Remember I had a high school teacher who drove a Green one in the Mid-80s

    • Raymond

      you are right, they go as fast Backwards as Forwards. Back in the 70ties they held races with these cars in the Netherlands believe or not, racing backwards !!!

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