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In 1972 the DAF 55 was replaced by the DAF 66. The 66 wasn't much more that a modernized 55. The bodywork was updated with a restyled front as most noticeable difference. The same four cylinder engine offered a bit more power (now 53 hp instead of 50 hp), but top speed and acceleration were a bit slower because the car weighed more. The increased weight was caused by the new and heavier rear wheel suspension-transmission construction which now featured a modern De Dion-style independent suspension system with leaf springs instead of the swing axles with coil springs of the 55. The advantage of this new system was a safer ride because the rear trackwidth now remained constant under vertical wheel movement as opposed to the old system that caused some tricky roadholding in extreme situations. Also the interior had been restyled, now offering more safety features.
The DAF 66 was produced from 1972 to 1975, totaling 101,967 cars. At the end of 1975 DAF had suddenly been taken over by Volvo. The Swedes were looking to expand into the small car market to complete their range of cars on offer. DAF on the other hand didn't have the finances to develop a competitive successor to the 55/66 series on its own. So a deal was made between Volvo and the Dutch government (a major shareholder of DAF) that allowed Volvo to build the DAF designed cars in the DAF factory under its own name. The factory was renamed Nedcar and the Dutch government remained shareholder to make sure that Volvo didn't transfer the production to their own factories, leaving the DAF workers unemployed. The rights to the Variomatic transmission were kept out of this deal and transferred to a new separate company called VDT (Van Doorne's Transmissie b.v.) that went on developing the system up to this day.
This way the Volvo 66 came into existence in 1975, as seen in the picture above. It was still the same car as the DAF 66, but now with the more appealing Volvo badge. The Volvo 66 was produced from 1975 to 1980, totaling 70,916 cars.

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Here you see a Volvo 66 GL 1.3 from around 1979. The "Grand Luxe" distinguished itself from lesser versions by the separate sets of dimmed beam and long-distance beam headlights in the grill. The GL was the most luxurious 66 version, cheapest was the Luxe and the in-between version was called DL.

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