Rare Rides: A 1972 DAF 66 Two-Door Wagon, Small and Not Quite a Volvo
Today’s Rare Ride is from an automaker headquartered in the Netherlands which faded away long ago. It’s a little DAF 66, from 1972.
DAF started out in the 1920s as a truck manufacturer, and produced its vehicles in a small workshop within the grounds of a brewery. Before World War II, the company developed conversions of 4×2 Ford trucks, and turned them into more serious 6×4 vehicles. After the war, there was big time demand for semi trucks, buses, and passenger vehicles. DAF took advantage of the demand for trucks immediately, and got around to passenger car production early in 1958.
Fast forward a few years, and DAF had established itself as a small car manufacturer. In fall of 1972, it introduced its new 66 model as replacement for the 55 that was in production since 1967. An entrant into the small family car class in Europe, the 66 was available in two- and three-door variants, and body styles of sedan, coupe, and the wagon seen here.
Though it was considered a new car, the 66 was mainly a rework of the 55. Big changes included revisions to the Renault engines DAF used in pursuit of better emissions. On offer were 1.1- and 1.3-liter inline-fours, with 53 and 60 horsepower, respectively.
One might assume the DAF used a primitive manual transmission, but no! DAF employed a CVT in its vehicles, the Variomatic. Developed by the company’s founder, DAF put the CVT into its earliest passenger car vehicles back in 1958. The 66 benefited from a revised Variomatic, after DAF took part in some Formula Three races. The CVT in the 66 used a differential and higher quality components.
The same year the 66 was introduced, fortunes changed for DAF. Volvo had an interest in its Netherlands neighbor, and purchased a 33 percent share of the company. On New Year’s Day 1975, they increased that share to 75 percent. They took control of DAF, and of the Nedcar plant it used.
DAF was not long for the world after Volvo tightened its grip. Officially the 66 died during 1975, and was replaced by the mechanically identical and slightly restyled Volvo 66. The final design DAF developed, the 77, was finished around the time Volvo took over, and became the Volvo 300.
Volvo continued to produce cars at Nedcar, including the 400 series, and the S40 and V40. It sold its ownership of the plant to Mitsubishi in 2001. Mitsubishi sold its ownership in turn to VDL Nedcar, and the factory presently builds some MINI models under contract with BMW. DAF’s truck division is still alive and well, building semis for places not North America.
Today’s charming 66 estate is located in England, and is from the 66’s premier year of 1972. With just under 34,000 miles on the odometer, it asks just $4,700.
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Jay Ramey of AutoWeek did a nice write-up on the Volvo-branded version of this car a few years ago. It had a wonderful shade of green that was oh-so-very early 70s.
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