On 1 January 1975, Volvo takes a majority stake in the DAF passenger car division. At that time, the Eindhoven brand has the recently launched 46 and the 1972 on the market since 66 as an offer within the "people" delivery program. After the expansion of the DAF Car BV stake, the Swedes reorganize and subsequently set up 1 Volvo Car BV on 1975 May. The memorable event paves the way for the arrival of the Volvo 66.
The DAF 66 is a good starting point for the Swedes to round off the Scandinavian model range. It is decided to scrap the compartment. The sedan and combi are mainly adapted to Volvo standards in terms of safety. The design of the body hardly changes compared to the DAF - in both two and three-door trim, however. The Volvo 1 was born on 1975 August 66. He succeeds the DAF 66 definitively and thus marks the end of the passenger car brand DAF, which in 1977 with the two cylinder 46 disappears permanently from the scene.
Extensive package of safety measures
At first glance, the newcomer looks very similar to its DAF predecessor. Still, it is impossible to confuse the two. The Volvo 66 is equipped with a new grille with Volvo signature and thick rubber bumpers, which should keep the sheet metal damage free in case of minor collisions.
But real safety-enhancing factors are also added to Michelotti's design. The tires are provided with wear indicators. The braking system is equipped with an exciter as standard. The 66 disc brakes will also be fitted to the front. The windshield is made of laminated glass. The wiper blades resting on it have a larger size. In the passenger compartment reinforced with steel profiles, new seats (initially only with fireproof material) with integrated headrests are placed. Three-point seat belts with an automatic retractor and an adapted steering wheel also make their entrance into the interior.
Another change concerns the 25% higher heater capacity. Furthermore, the improved rust prevention should also help to extend the life of the Volvo 66. And there are a few other adjustments that should indicate the differences with the DAF 66.
Reverse shift direction, unchanged chassis
From a technical point of view, Volvo did stick to the CVT transmission on the 66, albeit that the shift pattern was applied in reverse to the DAF. The same cartridge is inserted with a new gear lever fitted with a locking button. The indicated driving directions are also illuminated. The chassis remains the same as the DAF 66. The handling of the Volvo 66 keeps the same stable character as that of its Dutch predecessor. The expensive but advanced The Dion rear axle - which was mounted in 1972 under the then new DAF 66 - is maintained at the Volvo 66.
Engines are taken from DAF 66
No adjustments are made to the motor either. The engines from the DAF 66 - 1108 cc and 1289 cc power sources from Renault - are taken over one-to-one. The former finds its way into the DL execution level. From 1979 onwards, it is also placed in the new savings version “L”. The GL gets the larger engine. Items such as halogen high-beam headlights (four headlights), lighting in the luggage room and a tunnel console are also added to the most luxurious equipment level.
A special GT kit is being developed by Gunnar Andersson, former rally driver and head of Volvo's sporting arm. At an additional cost, the 66 with 1300 engine can be equipped with a power increase to 76 HP, which is enhanced by black stickers, elegant aluminum rims and extra lamps.
In the Netherlands, the kit can also be ordered as a personalization package without an increase in power. Such a personalized version is popularly known as “GLS”. The badges and stickers, however, provide the basis: officially this version will also continue to be called “GL”.
Stable career with few changes
Despite some criticisms (high price, modal performance), the 66 is a reasonable success for Volvo. There are hardly any changes to the concept. The most important change concerns the placement of real safety bumpers and openwork fixed headrests. At the end of 1980 - after a production of 113.431 units - the career of the Volvo 66 comes to an end.
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