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The last passenger car with the DAF brand name: the 46

ER Classics Desktop 2022

In 1974, the eight-year-old DAF 44 gets a successor. It is the DAF 46, which in the external sense remains largely the same as its predecessor. However, a number of technical innovations are hidden behind the new type name. In addition - and that appears more than two years later - the 46 is the last passenger car to carry the DAF brand name.

The bodywork of the DAF 46 can hardly be distinguished from its predecessor. However, the connoisseur immediately sees the differences. The 46 is characterized by, among other things, a decorative strip on the front, two round turn signal glasses on the front fenders and a separate brand name / type designation. Changes are made to the interior. For example, unlike in the 46 warning lights for the handbrake and the choke, the 44- finds a place on the dashboard. The placement of switches on the stems next to the handlebar is also a change praised by the historical trade press.


844 cc power unit, different transmission

The 844 cc two-cylinder power source from the DAF 44 (which generates 34 DIN-HP) also finds its way into the front of the DAF 46. The reduction values ​​of the 46 change compared to its predecessor, the continuously variable bandwidth becomes “narrower”. The torque in the 46 is also lower. 61,7 Nm at 2200 revolutions per minute against 63,7 Nm at 2200 revolutions per minute with the DAF 44. From a performance point of view, the 46 thus remains below par - certainly in its price range.

One drive belt and application of De Dion construction

The DAF 46 also gets the modified Variomatic with one instead of two drive belts. Furthermore, in this new configuration, the Variomatic no longer takes on the role of differential. The 46 is equipped with a De Dion rear axle construction (also known from the DAF 66). A characteristic of this is that the differential is now connected to the rear wheels by means of drive shafts and CV joints. This makes the handling of the DAF 46 much more stable. The Dion rear axle has another advantage: the non-sprung weight remains low, which also improves road holding. The disadvantages of using a single belt are its fragility (not being able to drive further after breakage), slightly less performance and the production of more noise, also as a result of the different gear ratios.

Two trim levels, three body styles

The 46 is - just like its predecessor 44 - in the body variants “coach” (DAF calls the two-door version then) and “station” available. An order variant (actually a station without a back seat) has been developed for entrepreneurs. The execution levels are called “Deluxe and SL”. The Superluxe variant - the SL- has fabric upholstery, a dashboard with wood veneer, a tunnel tray, reclining seats with fixed headrests and the glove compartment can be closed with a flap. On the outside, the SL distinguishes itself, among other things, by the use of steel-framed window pillars, especially when the Deluxe version has to do without this external nuance from 1975 onwards.

End of an era
Thanks to the DAF takeover of Volvo, the 46 blows out the passenger car candle from DAF. The last one is produced in 1976, although the DAF 46 is still available far in 1977. In total 32.353 copies leave the factory in Born. And when the last DAF 46 rolls off the tire, the end of a special passenger car brand has finally arrived.

2 Comments

Give a reaction
  1. Dear Olav.

    Thanks for the response and the additions within it. The continuous variable reduction was indeed changed, the “bandwidth” became narrower. I never fully understood the adjustment to one belt, but it was technically feasible. Daf was convinced that one belt would suffice because of the limited power. The 46 also generated less torque. The construction with De Dion rear axle was also a significant improvement for the road holding, which became considerably safer. Also because of the 'fixed position' of the wheels. Nice construction, although I have the impression that this also lost some power.

    Sincerely,

    Erik van Putten

  2. The 850cc air-cooled boxer engine was basically the same as that of the 44, but adapted due to stricter environmental requirements. That translated into less power at lower revs, so the transmission was tuned for a high-revving engine.

    And that was a heavy point of criticism, both from customers and in the trade press. The quiet-running 44 engine had been replaced by a high-revving, restless-feeling troublemaker who also failed to bring the Daf up to the specified top speed. Autovisie called it a significant decline and the car “slow”. It was economical, but yes, if you can't go faster than 115 and it takes half a minute to get there, every car is economical of course.

    The striking thing about the advertisements and advertising brochures of the 46 is that the factory always showed a young family as a target group. Every 46 ad is full of happy young couples who just have a baby or are definitely planning to have one or two soon.

    But the 46 was not bought at all by young people. If they were to buy a Daf, it would be a sporty Marathon, preferably a Coupé. Young people in the 46s thought an air-cooled two-cylinder Daf was a wipeout and indeed, the 66 was bought by the somewhat conservative, elderly Daf driver who found a 66 and certainly the Volvo XNUMX too expensive.

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