At the start of the 1950’s the Royal Netherland Army were desperate to replace their now ageing general purpose rolling stock. Their mish-mash of post war British and American vehicles were now starting to show there age and parts were becoming difficult to source, standardisation was required.
In December of that year the Dutch truck company DAF received a government order to produce 3,600 vehicles or to be more specific, light trucks for their Army. The truck was to replace the Dodge WC51,had to be AWD, capable of carrying six soldiers and their full battle kit, or 1 tonne payload . Hence the YA 126 was born.
The YA 116 was the prototype, but before it was built and fully tested the powers that be were so impressed they ordered the vehicles from the paper drawings.
Known as the WEP (Weapon Carrier), the truck was manufactured as a troop carrier/ general purpose truck, with modifications enabling conversions to radio trucks, ambulances and fire engines.
The official type designation (YA-126) is composed in the following way;
Y = military vehicle
A = overall,
1 = payload in tonnes
2 = standard,
6 = number, spinning, wheels
In this case, the six wheels are counted to include the two high positioned spare wheels, as they are freely rotating and mounted as a secondary function to serve as so-called. “Support wheels.”
Power came from a 4.62ltr Hercules 6 cylinder four stroke petrol engine mated to a 4 speed synchromesh gear box (except 1st gear) with a maximum speed of 80km/h. It was not a light weight truck by any means, weighing in at a whopping 3,400kg!
The truck has two wheel rear wheel drive when on road, with switchable four wheel drive to engage the front axle, the high side wheels rotate but have no drive.
The Weps served the Dutch military very well in all their applications and were not considered for replacement until the 1980’s when they became slowly de-mobbed in favour of the British Land Rover. The last Wep, surprisingly only left service in 1997. All were sold into the civilian markets after their retirement.
There are many YA126’s still trundling around in their home country as hobby cars and even wedding vehicles, as the Dutch do hold a warm fondness for their home grown military vehicle from the 50’s and rate it as a classic.