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.