1982 BMW 323i Baur

1982 BMW 323i Baur
Memorial Day 2010 First Drive 1982 323i BMW Baur Lapisblau M20 5 speed #4154 of 4595 made. The car was imported to California by Dietel Enterprises. I have since changed the wheels, installed the clear turn signal lenses, and I am in the process of installing a new cabriolet roof. I have to do something about those bumpers, too. :) I love this car! To see one of the reasons why, check my post "Score One For the Good Guys" on 6/26/2011.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Rare Dutch DAF Spotted at Ocean Beach Cruise Night Tonight!

UPDATE:  June 20, 2016.  See Below*.

My son Brian and I attended the Ocean Beach Cruise tonight with the Baur, and had a very unusual Sighting. As we pulled into the parking area, I spotted an open space between a lifted 4WD truck and what I thought might be either an Opel, a Cortina or maybe an early Datsun.

I didn't pay too much attention initially because I was immediately approached by the guys in the lifted truck who were curious about the Baur.  A few minutes later I was approached by a blonde woman who had followed us to our parking place after her companion had pointed the Baur out as a 'rare car'.  It turns out that she is Dutch, and was driving her two tone Austin Healey.  We had a nice chat about the Baur, and then she casually mentioned that she hadn't seen a "Duff' in a long time. I didn't know what she meant at first, and then I realized that she was referring to the blue car parked next to me! A "Duff"?  What on earth is a "Duff".

Then I noticed the badging on this blue car.  Whoa.  What have we here?   ;)
Hmmm.  Wait a second.  That is no Opel!  It is a DAF!  Whatever THAT is!!  I had never seen one before! 

OK, now check THIS out!  "Variomatic"?  Think CVT.  :)

The Unique Variomatic Transmission


By 1974, DAF was an important producer in many fields ancillary to that of commercial vehicle production and, in fact, manufactured armoured cars, specialist vehicles, marine engines and other items of heavy industrial equipment. However, to most motorists the name DAF was synonymous with the unique Variomatic transmission, which was a product of the fertile engineering brain of Hub Van Doorne.

Introduced at the Amsterdam Motor Show of 1958, the first DAF car was a small, two-door saloon, powered by a 600 cc twin-cylinder, air-cooled engine. It was the use of rubber belts and variable diameter pulleys as a form of transmission which intrigued both the general public and automotive engineers alike.
The Variomatic was the brain child of Dr. Hub van Doorne (van Doorne's Automobiel Fabrieken - DAF) and was infinitely variable in its ratios - there were no noticeable gear changes. The pulleys in the transmission expanded and contracted, depending on speed, road conditions and driver's demand automatically. Final drive to the rear wheels was transmitted by rubber-composite drive belts. It became known as the "car of a hundred gears" and "the easiest car in the world to drive". There was a selector lever between the front seats - simply push it forward to go forwards and back to go back! And as with any other automatic car, there are just two pedals - accelerator and brake.

DAF Variomatic transmission
The DAF Variomatic transmission.
Changes in the diameter of the primary and secondary pulleys of the Variomatic transmission were effected by a combination of engine torque, spring pressure, centrifugal force, exerted by bob weights in the primary pulleys, and by the filling and emptying of vacuum chambers - again in the two primary pulleys.

Although sounding complicated in theory, in practice, the Variomatic transmission system gave infinitely variable gear ratios between the maximum and minimum diameters of the pulley, eg: between 14.22: 1 and 3.6: 1 in the case of the Variomatic fitted to DAF's 66SL range of cars.

The completely stepless ratio changes, in what is virtually the final-drive ratio, meant that DAF cars could accelerate or decelerate without any of the jerks or bumps which sometimes bedeviled other forms of transmission, both automatic and manual. After 1958, DAF steadily capitalised on the benefits of the Variomatic transmission and on the acceptance gained by DAF cars throughout Europe.

The product itself was subject to a continuous development programme and the last models bore little physical resemblance to the rather crude device originally shown. DAF didn't ignore the potential of the transmission system with regard to motor sport.

In the early days of the car's development, the factory embarked on a programme of participation in single-seater racing in the Formula Three Class. In this category of intensely close racing, the Variomatic proved more than capable of handling the power of a highly tuned engine: over 100 bhp in a Brabham chassis.

A further benefit of the transmission in motor sport terms was that it absolved the driver from the responsibility of making gear changes, a fact which was very quickly appreciated by the rallying fraternity and which, in turn, led to DAF competing in the majority of the important international rallies, scoring many class wins and some outright victories when transmission reliability and rugged dependability were of paramount importance.

With the inception of autocross and rallycross in the European motor-sporting scene, the Variomatic transmission easily established its supremacy on icy or muddy surfaces, and the specially developed DAF rallycross cars of the De Rooy brothers, Jan and Harry, eventually ended up with four-wheel drive and 220 bhp, still using the basic principles of the Variomatic transmission system.
Here is a link to more information about the DAF:

Anyway, here are a few more pics from tonight's Cruise.  

Right Hand Drive!  In Holland??  ;) 

"In May 1974 a new model, the 66SL 1300, was introduced, exclusively for the British market and to be built only in limited numbers. The car was primarily designed as a livelier addition to the range, with improved performance from a 1289 cc 65 bhp engine and sporty roadholding aided by wide wheels, radial tyresand a de Dion rear suspension. November of the same year saw the introduction of the 46, a new model based on the popular 44 and, like previous cars, available in saloon and estate versions.

The car featured de Dion rear suspension and a further developed version of the Variomatic transmission, in this model using only a single belt. The model continued in production until 1976 and, with future developments following their course, it was to be the last car from the Dutch manufacturer to bear the name DAF, which then only appeared only on the company's commercial vehicles."

That is the owner of this DAF standing next to the hood of the car talking to my son, Brian.

Unfortunately, I neglected to get any engine pics.  If I recall correctly, this model 66 is running a 4 cylinder Renault engine.  I hope to see this car again, and I will have another chat with the owner.  I will try to do a more thorough job next time!  It is so funny that I was really caught off-guard by this little car tonight.  Like I said above, I had just assumed it was an Opel or a 1970's era Datsun..... when in fact I had no idea what it really was!

This was a very unique and surprising find!  Once again, you never know what you may run into at these little local cruises!  This was certainly a surpass to me!  And if it hadn't been for the Dutch woman with the Austin Healey commenting on a "Duff', I might have missed it altogether!  I am in her debt!   I mentioned to the DAF owner that I had a conversation with a Dutch lady about his car, and I asked if he had spoken to her.  He said "No'.  I told him I was surprised at that but perhaps he had been engaged with others when she came by.  I told him she would love to chat with him, especially since you don't see any Dutch cars in the US!  As we set off together to try to find her, I spotted her blue and white Austin Healey in the far distance, about to exit the show!  There was no way we could get to her car before she departed!  Oh, well, perhaps he will see her at the next show!  You never know! Stay tuned!  ;)

*UPDATE June 20, 2016:

The DAF returned to the Ocean Beach Cruise tonight, and I took the opportunity to chat with the owner, Vince, again.  I learned an interesting tidbit about the DAF since I first posted this last week.  I sent it to my Dutch friend, Jeroen, the Baur Guru.  Here is his response: 
The 66 indeed had a Renault engine. Some guys even installed a R5 Alpine Turbo engine in their Daf! But what you really forgot to mention; these cars can go the same speed backwards as forwards! Early 80's these cars where used for a TV-program, racing backwards.

And then he added this link: 

Too funny!  Enjoy!


  1. Thanks so much for the article! Great seeing you at the show and I'll certainly be back again with the DAF!

    1. I look forward to that! And I forgot to mention that you actually have TWO DAFs! The other one is a 1965, if I recall correctly! VERY unique items! Congrats!

    2. Yes, 1965, though that one is a work in progress, right now!