The 55 meant a big change for the Daf company. It was introduced in December 1967 and it was the first car produced with a 4-cylinder in-line water cooled engine.
In terms of engine at least, the DAF 55 moved into the medium-sized car bracket. There was a 1,108 cc four-cylinder Renault engine under the bonnet that produced 45 bhp at 5,000 rpm. The 55 was available as saloon, coupe and estate, all of course with Variomatic transmission.
The bodywork of the 55 resembled the DAF 44
. The 55 was only available in one version, slightly more luxurious than the 44 Luxe
. The 55 was supposed to attract new customers to DAF, but that didn't work out as well as thought.
DAF Marathon In Recognition Of London - Sydney Marathon Success
DAF entered two 55´s in the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon
, and despite plenty of cars that were not able to complete the arduous trek the two little DAF's accounted for themselves very well, finishing in position 17 and 57.
To capatilise on the DAF 55's success in the marathon, DAF produced an improvement kit upgrading the car to "Marathon" specifications. The kit was made available from January 1969 onwards. It consisted of light alloy STIL wheels, a rev counter, an engine modification set, special rear springs to improve road holding and a new exhaust pipe placed in the center of the car.
The kit proved to be extremely popular, so much so that DAF introduced the Factory 55 Marathon in 1971. This iteration had several improvements over the kit, including a brake assister, carpet on the floors, and 13 inch wheels with black covers. Making it look more sporting, the factory Marathon had double striping on its sides.
In 1972 the 55 was replaced by the 66.