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Daf 66 Marathon. A sporty Daf

Daf 66 Marathon

The Daf 66 Marathon was an attempt to save an image. There were car haters at the TROS and our own revolutionary car brand Daf has lost its reputation despite brave efforts to prevent it. Despite all the efforts of the factory to refute the fact that the stepless Variomat - which was way ahead of its time - was the solution to participate in traffic for mentally and physically very limited fellow humans. There were garage owners in the Netherlands who pinched the engine in such a way that such an arm Dafje did not run faster than 25 km / h.

This turned out to be interesting for elderly people who were then allowed to drive this slow shopping car without a driver's license. And deadly for the image. A 'fully automatic bitch shaker with braces drive'. A terrible description of a fantastic concept. Oh yes: about those car haters at the TROS.


During the completely crazy reverse racing, a lot of Dafs died on TV. Because Dafjes were very popular in that program. After all, with a Daf you could drive forwards and backwards just as fast. According to our data, there is even less than 500 on the license plate. And how many of them are in good order and moving?

Daf and the image

Daf did a lot, if not everything, to present the brand in a sporty & dynamic way. That worked most convincingly in the London-Sydney marathon.

The London-Sydney Marathon was a non-stop rally in 1968 (with the exception of the crossing from Bombay to Fremantle, Australia). A rally that still appeals to the imagination. And according to the stories, the toughest rally in the world (10.000 miles with a top prize of 10.000 pounds) was an unprecedented success for two Daf's 55.

Rob Slotemaker and Rob Janssen with starting number 30 and David van Lennep and Peter Hissink with starting number 69 not only reached the finish, but starting number 30 also ensured a top ranking to finish overall as 17e. That was with a DAF 55. And then came the DAF 66.

The Daf 66 Marathon

In 1973, Daf's most sporty car of all time came on the market. The car had a laminated windscreen and seats with headrests, the so-called nun-hood seats. The - thanks to the London-Sydney Marathon - Marathon version was previously Daf 55, with a small 60 PK, wider wheels and the distinctive striping. The Daf 66 Marathon started with an 1100 cc Renault block behind the headlights, bringing the power to just under the 60 hp.

Later there was an 1.300 cc version of the Daf 66 Marathon. Between the seats it was also sporting, because that was where a real center console was mounted in Born around the smart little stick. There were some blind holes in it, for which you could order some extra meters. Or assemble yourself later. That was cheaper. There was a De Dion rear axle instead of pendulum axles. And that did a lot of good for the handling.

They have become rare

Daf 66 and Daf 66 Marathon in the undamaged state have meanwhile become pretty rare. If you now look at a Daf 66 Marathon Coupé, you can see how many beautiful things have been lost. The Daf 66 in its most dynamic version is a very beautiful, elegantly lined car. And the operation was super simple: pushing the stick forward is driving forward. Push lever backwards ... Right.

The 66 Marathon with 1300 cc engine was considerably smoother and quieter than the 1100 cc version. The combination of that 1300 cc with the CVT ensured a very dynamic character thanks to its extra torque.

A great survivor

Our fashion model is one of the few intact survivors from the Marathon family. We found him at AMK advertiser Iwan van Lankvelt Auto's. And that less than € 5.000 is charged for such a unique car? This refutes the Indian stories that classics have become unaffordable.

Daf 66 Marathon

6 Comments

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  1. It is a pity that a Dutch car, with very interested technical details did not make it. Typical Dutch to hammer down what was a good product in principle. Be innovative and you have spent more time to conquer the opinion of a very small minority.

  2. In the course of 1954, a number of highly skilled employees, led by Hub van Doorne, started developing the DAF passenger car at DAF In Eindhoven. Ing Joan van der Brugghen played an important role for technology, while Wim van den Brink was responsible for the styling. The result was shown to the public at the RAI of 1958.
    The DAF 600 with fully automatic drive. The car had a self-designed and self-built 600 cc. Air-cooled boxer engine. The operation of the car was kept very simple.
    The reactions were very positive. The production plans had to be expanded in a short time. Everything seemed to be going smoothly. The attempts to get everyone in the car failed due to a number of factors: The total lack of Dutch Chauvinism, so that everything that comes from abroad would be better than a Dutch product. This is a quality that is almost non-existent in neighboring countries. DAF also had to overcome this difficulty with the trucks. An advertising campaign that apparently did not appeal to young people. A disdain for the Automatic, a manual gearbox is much sportier, etc. etc… All possible empty arguments not to drive a unique Dutch car. Later, when heavier engines were used and the bodywork was designed in Italy, the cars gained popularity. Numerous sporting successes were apparently not enough to win over the mainly Dutch buyers. In countries such as France and Belgium the sporting successes did appeal. The oil crisis and the pessimistic statements of the then Prime Minister den Uyl were partly decisive in selling the passenger car division to Volvo Passenger Car, Sweden. To be profitable, the production number had to be doubled in the short term. This turned out to be unfeasible for a relatively small car manufacturer. That meant the end of the Dutch passenger car industry. It is also important to mention that the Automatic Transmission (now called CVT) is due to DAF's activities in the passenger car sector. A huge success that is still used daily by car manufacturers worldwide. (More than 50.000.000 times now).
    The necessary pioneers have been working in the Netherlands to set up an automotive industry. Together with several large manufacturing industries, DAF has had a flywheel function in this. It is good to see that DAF is now the most successful Truck manufacturer in Europe. As part of the large American Paccar, these successes are now being propagated worldwide.

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