Devrim Car Project: Turkey's First Car

Devrim Car Project: Turkey's First Car

Although we are behind other countries in terms of science and technology, we had a project in the 1960s to produce a domestic automobile, but this idea was not supported and blunted. The Revolution Car (Devrim Car) project is one of them.

In 1961, the words of the Chamber of Engineers at a meeting that we could not build an automobile were reported in the press, which could be considered as the beginning of the fire. When journalists reminded the President of the time, Cemal Gürsel, of the words of the engineers that they could not build a car, the President got angry and reacted by saying, “How could they not?” As a result of a stubborn argument, Cemal Gürsel demands that a car be built by October 29th.

Since the technical facilities of our State Railways are available and perfect, I consider it appropriate for them to lead the establishment of the automobile manufacturing industry, which will occupy an important place in the national economy. The production of an automobile engine unique to our country and the creation of a sample of a domestic automobile as an example, and after the creation of this sample, the improvement of this automobile over time by comparing it with the best automobiles of other countries and identifying its faults, should be examined urgently.

At that time, Erbakan’s signing new projects in Germany and coming to Turkey and establishing his own factory contributed to the production of domestic automobiles.

President Cemal Gürsel allocated 1,400,000 liras for the construction of a domestic automobile, and the foundations of the domestic automobile were laid at the Eskişehir State Railways Factory, one of the most important factories of the Republican period, which had a very important role in covering all four corners of the country with iron nets in 10 years.

Valuable people who had grown up in developed countries such as the USA and Germany, and who had been educated in Turkey’s leading institutions, were organized and put to work for the 130-day automobile construction adventure. Under the direction of engineer Emin Bozoğlu, 23 Turkish engineers and dozens of workers are divided into different sections for the various parts of the car. The engineers and workers, who will benefit entirely from the facilities of the railroad factory, are masters in train and locomotive construction. But they have no experience in building cars, so they enter into a very exciting process. The engineers are asked to bring the cars of those who have cars. They will dismantle and examine the cars and get an idea of how they are made.

Devrim Arabasi 1
Devrim Arabasi 2

Although the revolution project was a secret project, it was leaked to the press and the press, like a stillborn baby, tried to mislead the public with as much opposition as they could. So much so that the budget of 1,400,000 liras was reduced to 900,000 liras for various reasons. The Revolution, treated as a stillborn child, manages to reach the last day. Showing great labor, dedication and sacrifice, the veterans had barely completed the construction of the car. Finally, the car is painted, but there is no time to polish it. The cars are put on the train from Eskişehir. The polishing of the cars, which had to reach Ankara and be presented to the President, was carried out in the train car.

In order to prevent any possible damage caused by sparks from the locomotives of the coal-fired trains at that time, the small amount of gasoline in the car, which was put in the car so that it could go on the train, was emptied and it was planned to be refilled in Ankara. Perhaps this was an idea that changed the history of Turkey.

They gave the automobile a name, Devrim. The Devrim arrives in Ankara and is rushed to the spot where the October 29th ceremonies are taking place. President Cemal Gürsel was expected. But at that moment it is realized that there is no gasoline in the car. A jerry can of gasoline is urgently found. But there is no funnel in the car to pour the gasoline into. Immediately a newspaper paper is made into a funnel, but when the gasoline is poured, the newspaper paper curls up. A magazine was found and tried with a magazine, without success. Then Cemal Gürsel arrives in an excited manner and everyone drops what they are holding and stands at attention with great haste.

Devrim Arabasi 3
Devrim Arabasi 4

Cemal Gürsel chooses between two revolutionary cars, one black and one beige, because it looks more official, but after a few meters the car stops and won’t start again because it runs out of gas. Cemal Gürsel explains, “You built a car with Western ideas, but you forgot to put gasoline in it with Eastern ideas.” For the 29 October Anıtkabir ceremonies, Cemal Gürsel gets into the beige car and completes his journey without any problems. Nevertheless, the next day, all newspapers publish headlines against the revolutionary cars. As a result, the opponents, who saw that automobile imports would result in a decline, got their wish.

Cemal Gürsel chooses between two revolutionary cars, one black and one beige, because it looks more official, but after a few meters the car stops and won’t start again because it runs out of gas. Cemal Gürsel explains, “You built a car with Western ideas, but you forgot to put gasoline in it with Eastern ideas.” For the 29 October Anıtkabir ceremonies, Cemal Gürsel gets into the beige car and completes his journey without any problems. Nevertheless, the next day, all newspapers publish headlines against the revolutionary cars. As a result, the opponents, who saw that automobile imports would result in a decline, got their wish and the issue of domestic automobile production, which was considered important enough to reduce foreign dependence, was closed.

The only surviving revolution car has been on display for 15 years in the garden of the factory where it was manufactured. To see the beige-colored Revolution Car on display at TÜLOMSAŞ (Turkish Locomotive Industry Inc.) in Eskişehir, security guards at the gate help you. With the presentation of an ID card, you can enter free of charge, walk through a well-kept, beautiful garden and closely examine the Revolution Car, which is protected in a glass case. This car, which has a very beautiful design with the lines of the period, could have been competing with the world today if production had continued. Weighing 1250 kg, Devrim is still in operation. It is regularly maintained and presented to visitors.

Devrim Arabasi Fabrikasi

Revolution Cars was also adapted to the cinema. Written and directed by Tolga Örnek, Revolution Cars is a successful and emotional movie that deals with the whole process of the revolution cars produced. Watch it for sure.