I must defend the DAF 1300 Marathon against W.B.’s scurrilous comment in “My Year’s Motoring” that it was “suitable for nervous ladies to drive at 50 m.p.h.” He did say the “1,200 c.c.” (an unfortunate 1,100-1,300 c.c. hybrid?) engine had quite a lot of urge, but he did not mention the excellent road-holding, the positive steering which is free from kick-back or the car’s incredible quickness off the mark in ordinary driving. Normal acceleration figures are meaningless with DAFs which can be regularly driven with full power on, while the high-revving, wheel-spinning techniques used to obtain road test 0-60 figures would quickly wear out a normal car if used all the time. My wife and I have run two successive DAF 1100s as second string to more powerful cars for the last three years, and are really very impressed with the speed on cross-country journeys. Acceleration from lights, particularly up a slight hill, is impressive, and many 2-litre cars have to rev their engines hard to keep up.
DAFs are like the Editor’s much-vaunted VWs in that being overgeared at top speed they will cruise effortlessly at their maximum. We could drive at a steady 85 m.p.h. on motorways, and the 1300 Marathon should presumably have even more punch. The only other small foreign cars that can match its handling are the Alfasud and possibly the Opel Kadett.
My wife thinks the concept of the DAF’s transmission is too new for W.B. to absorb! No doubt our beloved editor will get out his little square brackets to justify himself in a crushing postscript, but we will have to take a chance on that. In every other respect he has produced a first-class magazine which I have enjoyed for many years.
Scunthorpe, C. Maddox
[I am sorry if one comment of mine about the DAF 1300 Marathon has given offence to a keen owner, because I happen to like these unusual cars. I fail to see why it is uncomplimentary to say of any car that it should suit nervous ladies who are not prepared to exceed the present normal-roads speed-limit. If it also goes very fast when required, and accelerates impressively, so much the better! As for the concept of the DAF’s transmission being too new for me to absorb, Mrs. Maddox must indeed be new to motoring, or a very young lady, if she doesn’t recall my test of an original two-cylinder DAF and the shortcomings of its transmission that trials hills disclosed! —Ed.]