Through a majority interest in DAF Personenwagen B.V. in 1975, Volvo expanded its model range downwards: the 'little Volvo' marketed as the Volvo 66 is a Daf 66 with some external and especially safety-enhancing changes. Externally, the 66 received thick black bumpers with integrated turn signals, and the diagonal stripe with the Volvo logo in the grille to bring the model in line with the family face of the large Volvos.
Much remained the same in the interior compared to the Daf 66, but the CVT (Volvo's renaming of the Variomatic, from 'continuous variable transmission', English: continuously variable transmission) was now operated with a normal selector lever with the positions R (reverse, reverse) N (neutral) and D (drive, forward).
From now on you could only start a 66 with the selector lever in neutral position N, and the lever forward meant that you went backwards, and the lever backwards that you went forward: exactly the opposite of the DAF principle of the clever lever forward = forward and backwards = backwards.
To boost the safety level and convey Volvo's image of safe cars in this small 66, a laminated windscreen, reinforcements in the cage construction and automatic retracting seat belts were installed, among other things. All Volvo 66s had front seats with integrated headrests.
Those changes had their price: the Volvo 66 GL that was offered for 13,450 guilders was over 1100 guilders more expensive than the Daf 66 Marathon. During the 1970s, other cars became more expensive across the board, while the price level of the Volvo 66 remained virtually the same, so that the Volvo 66 was the cheapest car with an automatic gearbox in the Netherlands in the early 1980s, after the Mini automatic transmission.
With the introduction of the special GLS, chrome elements in the design were made matte black, a feature that became standard on all Volvo 66s from August 1976. Gradually, more DAF features of this model disappeared, such as the round indicators (which were replaced by elongated ones), the imitation wood on the dashboard, and the transmission got a P (park) position. From 1977 there were new paint colors and a new interior, with new seats with open headrests. In the last stage of production, the Volvo 66 received some changes in body colours, upholstery and improved sound insulation, and from August 1979 large decals. Volvo built the 66 up to and including 1980.