Last sample of Devrim at TÜLOMSAŞ
|Manufacturer||Eskişehir Demiryolu Fabrikası (TÜLOMSAŞ)|
The car is designed and engineered from scratch by Turkish Engineers. Body and interior is designed by:
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Middle sized, road type.|
|Layout||Rear wheel drive|
2000cc carbureted, straight 4 engines, 10 units produced:
manual, 10 units produced:
|Curb weight||1250 kg|
Automotive Industry Congress
On 15 May 1961, the Otomotiv Endüstri Kongresi (Automotive Industry Congress) was opened by President Cemal Gürsel. In his inaugural speech, he said:
|“||... We will reform agriculture too, but it is not possible to achieve anything just by selling grass! We can barely receive 7-8 buses in exchange for a shipfull of cotton. You may apprise how much effort is needed to raise a shipfull of cotton. Therefore, industry is necessary.
We have to become industrialized with a well-balanced tempo. This is a certain requirement. You may ask "don't we have any industry?" Yes we have, but they are so dispersed that all of them must be arranged to work for one direction.
About 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 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 such industrial achievements that encourage us in this way too...
After the congress, Gürsel issued his order to build a prototype engine and car meeting the requirements of the country. These prototypes would be compared with the best cars of the time, the shortcomings would be identified, and project development work would be undertaken in order to produce the best possible car in Turkey.
Design and production of Devrim
In 1961, President Cemal Gürsel ordered 24 engineers, working in various companies, to build a car fully designed and produced in Turkey. It was to be demonstrated during the Republic Day celebrations on October 29, 1961.
After 130 days of hasty labor at the workshop in Eskişehir, which later became the TÜLOMSAŞ factory, the engineers managed to make four prototypes of the automobile. One was black, and the others were cream coloured. It was named Devrim (the Turkish word for Revolution.)
Two of the cars were shipped to Ankara for the Republic Day celebrations. The black car was painted while on the train to Ankara. None of the cars had gasoline in them, as a safety precaution, and the cars were filled with little fuel, only for maneuvering. On the day of the celebrations, President Cemal Gürsel got in the black car for a ceremonial ride. After proceeding approximately a hundred meters, the vehicle came into a halt. While there are many theories ranging from sabotage to an engine and/or fuel system component failure, the exact cause is likely a simple mistake made by the driver Rıfat Serdaroğlu who forgot to put extra fuel in the tank just before the ceremony. Thus the car could not take a complete tour around the Turkish Parliament, as previously planned. Then the President got in one of the cream cars (which was filled up earlier) and went to Anıtkabir with it. The newspaper headlines in the following day were, "Devrim went 100 meters, and it broke down." The car became the subject of jokes for many years.
Devrim was never mass-produced. One reason for that was the cars were crafted prototypes and the production process was not well-documented, with almost no technical drawings remaining from the production phase. Another reason was that the demand was not high enough to make mass production feasible. Cars were still affordable for a small economic minority in Turkey, who preferred to buy American and European cars, and as such, there was only a small number of potential private buyers.
A popular conspiracy theory about the failure of mass production suggests that the American auto giants, who sold most of the foreign cars in Turkey back in the early 1960s (even the Police cars were GM and Ford models, especially Chevrolet, until the late 1970s) had approached the Turkish government to cancel the project, and it was decided to keep the relations smooth between the two close NATO allies.
Three of the prototypes were destroyed, their engines converted to diesel generators, but the last one is kept, in working condition, inside the TÜLOMSAŞ factory in Eskişehir, where it was built. The story of the building process and hard efforts of the 24 engineers who worked on Devrim automobiles became the subject of a documentary film, which was released in Turkey in 2008. In late 2010, students from the National University of Science and Technology in Pakistan developed a hybrid car with inspiration from Devrim, and named this car Devrim II.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Devrim.|
- NTVMSNBC Article on Devrim
- TÜLOMSAŞ page on Devrim (in Turkish)
- Official page of Devrim (in Turkish)
- Turkish Wikipedia article
- Turkish Wikipedia article about the movie
- Official movie page of Devrim (in Turkish)