Turkey’s first national car turns 57
Turkey’s first homegrown automobile Devrim (Revolution), manufactured in 1961 in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir, celebrated its 57th anniversary on Oct. 29 Republic Day.
One of the four automobiles produced by the Turkey Locomotive and Engine Industry AŞ (TÜLOMSAŞ), previously called the Eskişehir Railway Factory in 1961, Devrim has drawn great attention at a museum on its 57th year.
Devrim was manufactured at the order of then President Cemal Gürsel, who wanted to show the world that his country was capable of manufacturing its own car, rounding up a team of Turkish engineers to design and make the car.
Devrim was manufactured by a group of successful engineers, who were told to design the car at international standards, at the factory in Eskişehir.
The national car was produced in four-and-half months and was expected to be revolutionary. Its revolution, however, was short-lived. Devrim ran out of gasoline while Gürsel was making the car’s debut drive during Republic Day celebrations in 1961 around the Turkish Parliament in Ankara.
Devrim was then taken back to Eskişehir from Ankara by train and used inside the factory for some time.
The four automobiles, which were produced within a very short time despite the difficult conditions of the period by about 200 Turkish engineers and workers, were given the names of “black,” “white,” “blue bead,” and “slum.”
The museum also displays the engine, drill and lathes used in the manufacture of the car, the camera which photographed the stages of the construction, a caliper, compasses, ruler, a drawing table, limestone model scale, spare parts and the images of the works.
Devrim’s main and dipped headlights can turn on and it can be started manually or with a key. With a weight of 250 kilograms and a maximum speed of 140 kilometers per hour, Devrim’s tank is however unfilled and its battery was removed due to security reasons.
Given the high interest of visitors, the museum, where the car is exhibited, was set up in a different part of the TÜLOMSAŞ facilities. Opened eight months ago, the museum hosted about 95,000 visitors so far.
Visitors come to the museum from all over the country to see the car and take photos with it.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Mümtaz Erdem, the son of one of the engineers who designed Devrim, İsmail Hakkı Erdem, said the production of the car was a real success story and that his family witnessed the big effort.
Erdem said the members of the team tasked with manufacturing and designing the car were chosen from among the most successful engineers and workers.
“These people were able to produce a car under very difficult conditions. They put in great efforts to manufacture a car at high, international standards. This car, which was created by the work of each team, from the bolts to the engine pistons, still works when you start the car with a key. It shows us that it wasn’t true that it lacked gasoline. We always remember them [the team] with respect and gratitude,” he said.