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DAF 66

The DAF 66 is a small family car produced by the Dutch company DAF from September 1972 to 1976. It was the successor of the DAF 55 and was itself superseded by the reworked Volvo 66. The DAF 66 was the last four-cylinder car to feature the DAF name.

All 66 featured the unique Variomatic belt-driven continuously variable transmission.

The 66 was available as a 2-door saloon, a 2-door coupé, and a 3-door estate.

In total 146,297 DAF 66s have been built.

Origins

The 66 was developed to be an evolution of the 1967 DAF 55. The redesign was mainly cosmetic, and featured the following major changes:

Powertrain

The 1108 cc engines were reworked to have lower emissions, changing power to 53 bhp (40 kW) for the normal models, and 60 bhp (45 kW) for the 1100 Marathon.

Suspension

The rear suspension and Variomatic was completely redesigned, learning from DAF's experience in Formula Three racing. The Variomatic was much more robust and now incorporated a differential for smoother low speed maneuvering. The unpredictable swing axle rear suspension of the 44 and 55 was changed to a leaf sprung De Dion tube axle, which greatly improved handling and comfort.

Braking

Cheaper models now featured drum brakes all around, whilst higher spec models retained the 55's front disk brake setup.

Bodywork

The complete front clip was restyled, giving a more uniform and boxy appearance. The rear featured narrower rear lights.

Model chronology

The 66 was launched as a wide model range, incorporating a 2-door saloon, a 3-door estate and a 2-door 2+2 coupe. At introduction the customer could choose from 'De Luxe' (drum brakes and vinyl seats), 'Super Luxe' (Front disks and reclining cloth seats) and 'Marathon' (Extra power and wider wheels) trim levels.

In 1973 the '1300 Marathon' replaced the original Marathon. It featured a 1289cc 57 bhp (43 kW) version of the Renault C-series inline 4 engine used in all 66s. The 1300 Marathon was distinguishable from its lesser brethren by the foglights mounted in the grille. The interior featured a centre console with room for fitting extra gauges and high backed cloth sports seats. The less torquey but more powerful 1108cc Marathon engine remained available as an option on all models.

In 1974 the Dutch Armed Forces commissioned DAF to build a small personnel carrier. This car, the YA 66 was an adaptation of the normal 1108cc 66 sedan, with the most apparent change being a roofless, Jeep like body. Technically it was very similar, and as such had little to no terrain capacity. 1201 DAF YA 66s were built. They were all decommissioned in the early 90's and sold to the public.

DAF's in the media

A white saloon version of the DAF 66 features in the opening credit sequence of series 2 of the British made ITV detective series Van der Valk which was filmed on location in Amsterdam. Van der Valk is seen as a passenger in this sequence and the car is subsequently seen in a number of episodes.

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