If there is one automotive technology for which Dutchman Hub van Doorne became world famous, it is the continuously variable transmission.
The creation of the CVT is one of the reasons that van Doorne has earned a place in the European Automotive Hall of Fame.
In March, he will join three other Class of 2009 inductees in the Hall: Sports car and tractor maker Ferruccio Lamborghini; prolific independent sports car designer Giovanni Michelotti; and former Mercedes-Benz CEO Werner Breitschwerdt.
Shortly after the foundation of his machine shop and trailer-making plant in the southern Dutch town of Eindhoven in 1928, Van Doorne started working on innovative transmission systems.
His Trado all-wheel-drive system for military vehicles was patented in 1937. It was used for more than 30 years on DAF artillery trucks. The system was well known for its off-road capabilities, even under the most severe conditions. It was officially certified by NATO for use in its vehicles in the 1950s.
But even while focusing on the foundation of his heavy truck manufacturing activities under the name of DAF (Van Doornes Automobielfabrieken), from 1948 onwards Hub van Doornes dream was to build a fully automatic small car. This ambition led to his first CVT application, a rubber-belt transmission that he was able to use in the DAF 600, a compact four-seat car, in 1958.