Today I would like to write about Devrim(Revolution cars). This car is the first national car of Turkey and it has a sad but interesting story.
Beginning of the 1960s was a tremendous period for Turkey. A military coup d’etat happened inside the country and army seized the power, Jemal Gursel became president. 3 people from previous government including previous Prime Minister Adnan Menderes were executed. Jemal Gursel wanted his country to produce first national car. He ordered to Turkish engineers to build first Turkish car.
In 15 May 1961, Automotive Industry Congress was opened by Jemal Gursel. I want to mention some point from his inaugurual speech:
…When it comes to the automotive industry; a modern country must produce its own transportation vehicles. In today’s world transportation vehicles occupy an important place in the economy. We must produce our own transportation vehicles, we must transport with our own vehicles. First, we have to build some of the parts; then, with improvement, we must build up to 70-80% of them.
Some people say that it’s impossible to produce automobiles in Turkey. This thought is the product of dark minds. Turkey has many industrial branches that encourage us in this way too… (Wikipedia)
He ordered 24 engineers who worked in different companies to produce first cars in 129 days. It was very difficult for the people whose country never produced a national car to create 4 prototype Devrim cars in 129 days for 29 October Republic Day celebrations. But they were succesful. One of these cars was black, others were in cream colours.
But a very unfortunate event happened. These cars were transported in a train from Eskisehir to Ankara. For security purposes, the cars did not have enough petrol. Also, high octane petrol was available only in Ankara. Jemal Gursel chose black car for going to the ceremony with first Turkish national car. It went nearly 100 metres, and suddenly stopped. When president asked what happened, the driver(engineer) Rifat Serdaroghlu said: Paşam, benzin bitdi( Pasam, petrol is over). Jemal Gursel entered to other cars which were filled with petrol earlier and these cars completed ceremony without any problem. But this unfortunate event created unpleasant jokes and completely puta big shadow over the success of Turkish national engineers. Unfortunately, Turkish statespeople did not support this project later. But success of Devrim cars inspired other manufacturers and in 1966 Anadol automobile firm was created.
One movie was dedicated to this event. This movie is called “Devrim Arabalari” (Cars of the Revolution), director of this movie is Tolga Ornek. It was made in 2008 and several famous Turkish movie stars such as Selchuk Yontem, Halit Ergench, Haluk Bilginer, Taner Birsel, etc. It is highly recommended by me.
Currently, one of the cars still exists and you can see this car in Eskishehir.