In Turkish, Devrim means “revolution”. Devrim automobile was the first local Turkish automobile created and served as a source of hope in Turkey. It all started in June 16, 1961 when a meeting was called out by the Turkish Republic President Cemal Gursel to develop a street car that the Turkish could use. This goal has been escalated to the TCDD or the National Railways of Turkish Republic. As a country, they wanted to prove that they are capable of producing cars on their own despite facing other kinds of problems in their country.
At first, there were a lot of negative reactions to the said project but this did not stop the team led by Emin Bozoglu. In the western part of Turkey at Eskisehir, they started with the project by choosing a building to serve as their working area. By 1924, they had 20 engineers. Some of them did not even know how to drive a car so they still had to study the engines of other automobiles. Later on, they were able to construct engines and gearboxes. Finally, they were able to identify the structure of an automobile and from then on, they identified how to replicate those.
The design for the first car they assembled came up within four and a half months. Since the engineers were pressed for time, technical drawings were not drawn and instead, the engineers had to instruct workers through rough estimates by eye. As they went through manufacturing, they encountered problems such as housing, motor, and the gas and brake mechanisms.
These problems led the State Planning Organization to believe that the Devrim was useless and that the money of the Turkish public set for it is put to waste. Here are the technical specifications of the Devrim:
Weight: 1250 kg.
Length: 4500 mm.
Width: 1800 mm.
Height: 1550 mm.
Place of manufacture: Eskişehir Railway Factory
Production duration: 4.5 months
Production Capacity: 4 Passenger Cars
10 Piece Engine: 4 A4L type 3 type 3 B3T type A4T
7 Piece transmissions: A type 3 unit 4 unit B-type
Number of Cylinders: 4
Cylinder Diameter: 81 mm.
Cylinder Volume: 20 70 cm
Stroke: 100 mm.
Compression: 6.8: 1
Power: 50 HP
Speed: 3600 d / d
Finally, the Devrim was introduced to the public by October 29, 1961 coinciding with the 38th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. President Cemal Gursel was supposed to be taken to Anitkabir using this car. Because of the fast pacing of events, last minute additions had to be done to the Devrim even while it was being transported in the train. The petrol tank had to be separated during transportation for safety reasons and unfortunately, the engineers forgot to put it back. As a result, the automobile stopped 100 meters after Gursel rode it. The crowd was already excited but this simple mistake had changed the course of things. Thus, the famous saying of Gursel came out where he said “The project team developed automobile with western mind, however forgot to supply the fuel with eastern mind.”
The Devrim was never mass produced because of this single, unfortunate event which was inadvertent. Had it been the engineers have remembered fueling up the automobile, Turkey would have been very proud to produce their very own automobile out of scratch. At the time, there was no industry in Turkey and this could have been the first. Until now, questions remain unanswered to what could have happened if the Devrim actually took off for more than 100 meters and if Gursel had not said what he said. After this failed attempt, more negative reviews of the project emerged and soon, Turkey has forgotten of this supposed to be monumental event.