Simmering Dafjes were never show-off tools, but this Kalmar-Daf certainly had no pretensions. The unique thing only delivered the Swedish mail.
Virtually no other vehicle was better at this than this working class hero† Maybe bigger. In the United States, the distinctive Willys Dispatcher Jeeps drove around the post from the mid-XNUMXs, the legendary Chevrolet and Grumman LLVs arrived much later. But these were all heavy drinking barges and, moreover, amply oversized for the relatively light and compact load of letters and parcels. Of course, that was actually all in the United States.
This Tjorven, introduced in 1968, as the Kalmar-DAF was called in Sweden, was a lot more modest. Almost Calvinistic and that suited our grocery mentality very well. The prototypes were built on the basis of the traditional DAF 33 technology. But on closer inspection, the Scandinavians found that very minimalistic. It didn't have to be so humble anymore. When the Swedish Kalmar Mekaniska Verkstad actually started production of this work pony, the technology had meanwhile been upgraded to that of the DAF 44. No half measures. Although… those were still just two cylinders under the hood. Together they now coughed up a power of about 30 hp, from a capacity of 844 cc. There flew the duty brevbärare at least not quickly out of the corner during his delivery round.
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That was a good thing, the best man or woman probably wouldn't have come off well. The Kalmar-DAF was quite nihilistic, also in its construction. Apart from the aforementioned DAF technology, the mobile shed consisted of no more than a tubular frame and polyester. Safety features consisted of a brake pedal, a steering wheel and above all, pay close attention. This was greatly facilitated by the well-known variomatic, DAF's renowned continuously variable transmission. Needless distraction by many shifting and coupling movements was excluded by this clever lever. The hands could remain on the wheel. They searched in vain for that in the obvious place. Because of the many getting in and out and the accessibility of the mailboxes, the Kalmar-DAF was always right-hand drive. Until a year earlier, that would have been useful: on Sunday, September 3, 1967, people in Sweden also started driving on the right, from 05.00:XNUMX in the morning they changed lanes for good. Preferably all at the same time.
The 19 prototypes were still left-hand drive, because testing had already started well before Dagen H (the day of the switchover). The Swedish Post Office had been looking for a successor for the Bedford CA that it employed for a while. Popular because of the standard sliding door for the driver, but the British bus proved not particularly reliable and also poorly resistant to the Swedish winters. That caused quite a few problems. The 'Badford' had to be removed and was replaced by the Kalmar-DAF developed together with Daf. It also had sliding doors. And a lot of glass, the proportions were a bit off. Any kind of luxury too. A few folding chairs, a scanty dashboard and two sliding windows: there was nothing more to enjoy in this container.
The few Kalmar DAFs that were converted to a family version with rear seats were also not much more luxurious or comfortable. Not at all, actually. But the Combi interior was in any case not gloomy, because of that enormous glass surface it was nice and light in the doorzon-DAF. Moreover, it was immediately possible to establish from the outside world whether the family was complete and in what condition it was. Nothing remained secret. And on sunny days, you almost had to lubricate with a factor of 30. Of the few families who still use this modest van as daily transport, Dad was probably not a petrolhead.
In total, just under 2200 copies of this extremely sympathetic letterbox were built and used to full satisfaction in all kinds of disciplines. Mainly as a postal car, but this hardworking DAFJE could do much more. Except showing off.
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