The Volvo 66 sprang directly from the DAF 66, which was originally styled by Michelotti. The compact car was introduced in August 1975, almost exactly a year after Volvo Cars bought DAF,and before production of the Volvo 300 series began.
The Volvo 66 was known for its continuously variable transmission, the Variomatic. The Volvo version of the car was slightly restyled and given larger bumpers compared with those of the original DAF model. Although this was in keeping with Volvo's emphasis on safety, it also increased its cost of production.
The Volvo 66 was available as a 2-door saloon and 3-door estate, whilst the 2-door DAF 66 Coupe was dropped, and therefore was never sold as a Volvo.
The other major features in which the Volvo 66 differed from the DAF 66 are:
- New seats featuring headrests
- A safety steering wheel
- Doors with steel side impact bars
- A declutching servo which enabled the driver to change gear with the choke engaged (In the older DAF models this wasn't possible, because the increased idle caused the centrifugal clutch to engage).
- A 'park' mode in the CVT, which locked the driveline.
Volvo produced roughly 106,000 units of both the saloon and estate 66, and no more than 14,000 were sold in the United Kingdom. As of 2011, only eight are known to survive in the United Kingdom.
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