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Spotted: a 1978 Volvo 66 DL

June 23, 2023

Earlier this year, with the help of a nice double spot, we also took a moment to reflect on the automotive industry that the Netherlands once had. Then we talked mainly about the Volvo 300 series, which began its development as a DAF, but eventually entered the market only with Volvo logos. This time in Gespot we look at the Volvo 66, the last DAF also sold under that name.

The DAF 66

The DAF 66 entered the market in 1972 and was an evolved further development of the DAF 55. The main visual difference was the newly designed front end; at the rear, both cars were very similar. The main technical change was the introduction of a De Dion rear axle, which replaced the less stable pendulum axle construction.

From DAF to Volvo

In the early 1970s, DAF ran into financial difficulties, leading to the sale of shares. Volvo was thus able to secure a 33% stake in the company in 1972. That did not end the problems for DAF. It was finally decided to split the truck and passenger car divisions. DAF continued with the trucks and still exists today. The passenger car division went entirely to Volvo in 1975, which started supplying the cars under its own name.

The Volvo 66

Volvo stopped production of the aging DAF 33 and 44, but continued with the more modern 66. But yes, Volvo was the brand of big, solid and sturdy cars. So the brand did want to make the DAF safer in the necessary ways. Thus, the car received larger bumpers, a safer steering wheel and better seats. Not visible are body reinforcements, especially in the doors. Also, the well-known Variomatic was given a neutral position. After all, with the original DAFs you always started in gear, so you had to remember especially not to keep the brake properly depressed when starting….

Otherwise, everything else stayed the same. The original 1.1- and 1.3-liter four-cylinder engines (35 to 42 kW (47 to 57 hp)) also remained on offer, even though they came from Renault’s shelves. By the way, Volvo also had engine cooperation with Renault at that time, just think of the V6 PRV engine.

The spotted specimen

On the A16, just south of Rotterdam, we came across this beautiful specimen a while ago. It is a still very clean Volvo 66 ‘642910’ from 1978. ‘Of course’ the car is original Dutch. The current owner has been driving it around since 2020 and we hope he continues to do so for a long time.