DAF CARS: THE 44 MODEL
Seven years after the start of DAF passenger car production DAF decided to
expand its model range with a more upmarket model that offered more space. To make it an
internationally accepted model, DAF didn't design the car in-house but commissioned
acclaimed Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti to design a stylish car.
In the second half of the sixties Michelotti was at the height of his career. He made his name designing the 1959 Triumph Herald and most of the Triumphs after that up to the seventies. One of his most beautiful designs was the 1961 Triumph Italia 2000 Coupé, a very rare car that set the lines for the Triumph TR4, TR5 and TR6 sportscar series. He and his Studio Technica also designed the BMW 700 (1959) and 1500 (1962), cars that made BMW into the company it is today. So Michelotti seemed like a safe bet for DAF, and the result wasn't half bad.
The DAF 44, as the new car was called, looked modern and tidy, but wasn't Michelotti's best work. Somewhere along the way Michelotti's designs started to resemble each other more and more and the 44 clearly showed the lines of the 1967 Triumph Herald. Because of the room the Variomatic transmission took up in the rear and the need of a usable boot, the DAF 44 had to be higher than the Herald and this upset the balance of Michelotti's otherwise sound design. This made the car looking too "boxy" to be called elegant.
Technically the DAF 44 still resembled the DAF 33. It had an enlarged air-cooled 2 cylinder boxer unit, now with a displacement of 844 cc. It produced 40 hp @ 4500 rpm and gave the 725 kg car a top speed of 123 kph. Compared to the DAF 33 the wheelbase had grown 20 cm, the overall length 24 cm and the width 10 cm. The DAF 44 was produced from 1966 till 1974 and 167,902 cars were manufactured.
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