DAF Daffodil 32

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Keywords: DAF Daffodil 32
Description: Having aquired a Daf 32 back in November last year, I've started doing a series of articles for the DOC magazine giving the story of finding, recovering and (hopefully) returning it to the road.

Having aquired a Daf 32 back in November last year, I've started doing a series of articles for the DOC magazine giving the story of finding, recovering and (hopefully) returning it to the road.

Our story starts way back in April 2008, when I bought my first copy of Practical Classics for probably a decade. There was no reason other than I saw it on the shelf and fancied an idle read. At the time our only transport was a Mitsubishi Colt diesel and, while the idea of a “classic” car had always appealed to me, I naturally assumed that owning one was out of my financial reach.

My partner, Sian, was learning to drive at the time and happened to see a photo of a white Daf 33 over my shoulder in the magazine. Her immediate comment was “I want one of those when I pass!” so I went for a surf and found the DOC forum. My (admittedly slightly sceptical) first post asking about the practicality of running a 33 as daily transport was met with friendly and helpful advice including a suggestion from Bob Scrivens that his brother had one, off road, about 7 miles away from us that Sian might like to look at to see if she felt the same about them “in the flesh”. To avoid getting side-tracked too far, suffice to say that, about a week later, we were the new owners of Betty our 1972 Daf 33.

Within a year, Sian had passed her test and Betty was giving sterling service in daily use. On a trip out to the local hardware shop we were accosted in the carpark by a complete stranger who asked if we'd mind taking “the rubber band car” along to the forthcoming Anglesey Vintage show. We hadn't planned her as a show car, and she was certainly not in what we would have though of as show condition, but we went anyway and the little car was a huge hit with the public. So we found ourselves going to more shows. A car, a hobby (keeping her running) and an excuse for days out all in one – tremendous value by any standard!

Fast forward to August 2009, the last local show of the year, and the real start of this story. Once again we were approached by a stranger who recognised what Betty was and was delighted to see her still on the road. He then mentioned that he had his aunt's old Daffodil in a garage and asked if we'd be interested in it. He was in the process of moving from Barrow-in-Furness to Anglesey so the garage had to be cleared and he'd rather see the car put to use, perhaps as spares, than have to scrap it. The only details he could give was that it was red, hadn't been on road since his Aunt died about 40 years ago, but still had it's “Daffodil” badge. He also thought it had no year letter on its registration.

By this time, as well as Betty, I'd acquired a 1969 Triumph 1300 and my partner's daughter had also got a Daf 33 as her first car, despite not actually having a licence yet. We also had no off-road parking or garage for any of the existing cars, let alone another one that would likely be a long-term project after all those years off-road. So, instead of snapping his arm off and following him home with a tow truck, we actually asked if we could think about it! To be honest, the thinking lasted all of about 30 seconds but we couldn't really commit until we knew if we could store it. That evening, a post appeared on the DOC forum about a “hypothetical” Daffodil. Unsurprisingly, lots of people wanted lots of details that we simply didn't have yet!

By the next day we'd found a local storage company where we could hire a 20 foot shipping container so we phoned to say “yes please” and he promised to let us know when he could get it down to us. That was in August 2009. By October 2009 we had storage, but no Daffodil. We didn't like to push him too hard because this was an offer of a free car and we knew he had a lot on his plate with house moves, job moves and so on. But by August 2010, a full year since we'd spoken to him first, we still had storage but still no Daffodil. Needless to say, we were pretty well giving up hope.

Then, in early October, two things happened. First, while buying a small trailer for Betty, we stumbled on the chance of workshop space, including power and access to a ramp and spray equipment, for the same as our 20 foot steel container was costing. That inspired me to have “one last try” at contacting the owner off the mythical Daffodil.

He was delighted to hear from us and was going to Barrow at the end of the week, so he'd send us some photos to see if we wanted it. If we did, he'd be back “oop north” for a week around the 25th and we could sort something out about collecting it then. We really didn't need photos – he'd originally suggested it was probably good for spares after all - but it seemed like a move in the right direction. Apart from anything else, photos would solve the mystery of what model it was. So we waited. And waited. And still we waited, checking our email daily, with no photos appearing.

By now we were convinced that it simply wasn't going to happen but I tried one more call on the 26th October. When the phone was answered they were actually on the road towards Barrow for a week of house clearing and would get some photos while they were there. This time I was quick enough to assure them that photos really weren't needed – as long as it was intact enough to strap to a trailer, we wanted it! He phoned back later to confirm it looked solid enough to tow, and told us it was a little later than he'd though, bearing a “D” plate registration from 1966.

So, that evening, we were frantically trying to find a way to transport a car 200 miles when our only transport by now was a 1972 Daf 33 and a 1969 Triumph 1300, neither of which are exactly ideal tow cars for that sort of thing! With the story going almost full circle now, Dave Scrivens (who we had bought Betty off all that time ago) very kindly agreed to lend us his car trailer and Mitsubishi Pajero to tow it with.

About 8:30 on the morning of 29th October, we set off towards the Lake District and a completely unknown, semi-abandoned, Daffodil. By now we expected it to be a 32 but I still had a sneaky hope for it to be one of the last of the 31s that had slipped through on a late registration.

We reached our destination just before 2 in the afternoon and, as the garage door was opened, the mystery was solved. There was a remarkably solid looking, and very sooty, Daf 32 Daffodil buried under half the contents of a neighbouring garage after everything had been thrown on top of it during a garage fire in the row. The soot was everywhere!

Still, it was only soot rather than actual fire damage, and we soon had the little thing dragged unceremoniously out on 4 flat tyres with binding back brakes. Out in the sunlight for the first time in many years, we started noticing all the little details that mark the 32s out from our 33. The opening rear windows, UK market wooden dash and fitted carpet were all pleasant surprises but nothing compared to the two-tone red and white interior. Even covered in soot, it screamed 60s style. Any question of her being a “parts car” went right out the window there and then!

As she was winched onto the trailer the brakes let go with a bit of a bang and one rear tyre tried to leave its rim. Strapped down and looking really rather sorry for herself, the drive back commenced through 60mph gusts of wind and standstill traffic on the M6. Finally arriving home just after 9pm, we decided to leave her on the trailer and sort everything out in the morning.

Next day, with the Daffodil unloaded and waiting outside while we returned Dave's car and trailer, the heavens opened (as they're prone to here on Anglesey) and, by the time we returned to get her into the workshop, the rain had started to reveal just what a solid and shiny little car we'd obtained. She really is in remarkable condition!

Further inspection over the weekend revealed that the only apparent faults to prevent her returning to the road are a partially seized engine, perished tyres and a complete lack of foot brake – although the handbrake seems to work just fine. On the other hand, she's never been registered with the DVLA so we need to try and uncover evidence to allow her to retain her existing registration. Judging by the experience of others that's likely to take a little while so, rather than rush her through an MOT, we'll be taking the chance to tidy up all the little bits while we wait.

Sian and I are both still reeling at our luck in obtaining this car and we hope to have her returned to the road for the Anglesey Vintage Show next May ready to fulfil her old owner's request for a drive in her!



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