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Drive Life : February 18th 2011
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Ph: (02) 9784 8856 canterburybmw.com.au DL 8726 Col Crawford Motors 497 Pittwater Road, Brookvale. Ph: (02) 9941 1291 colcrawford.bmw.com.au DL 6342 Sylvania BMW 101-107 Princes Highway, Sylvania. Ph: (02) 8543 5459 sylvaniabmw.com.au DL 14727 Trivett Classic 40-52 Church Street, Parramatta. Ph: (02) 9841 9003 trivettclassicbmw.com.au DL 579 BMW 320i SEDAN WITH EXCLUSIVE INNOVATIONS PACKAGE. Including Leather Upholstery • Metallic Paint • 17" Alloy Wheels • Navigation System Automatic Transmission • High-Beam Assist • Bi-Xenon Headlights $59,800 drive away .^ The Sydney Morning Herald Friday, February 18, 2011 5 DriveLIFE Who's turning 50? Fuel's errand . . . the Devrim was the little engine that couldn't. TONY DAVIS Frequently Unasked Questions Devrim is. That's the famous Devrim car, of course. It's more famous in Turkey than most places, admittedly. And it's probably famous there mainly for making one of the most embarrassing product debuts in automotive history -- which we'll come to shortly. Not only is the Devrim car celebrating its half-century but its unusual gestation is the subject of a feature film. This is despite only four examples ever being made and despite, well, that embarrassing unveiling. Which we'll come to shortly. Well, come on -- a bloke should be allowed a few blatant journalistic hooks if he's trying to make people interested in an obscure Turkish sedan. The only other car that springs to mind as inspiring a ''making of'' feature film is the 1948 Tucker, which was later known as the Torpedo. It was considered Hollywood material because it had a radical design and a charismatic man behind it who managed to spin the story that he was going to smash Detroit. When he didn't, he spun the story that Detroit's skulduggery had smashed him. And the Devrim? The story started when Turkey had a general election -- which is to say, an election involving only generals -- and Cemal Gursel was installed as president. General Gursel decided it would be good for morale if Turkey designed and produced a car all of its own. Ideally within four months, in time for the 1961 Republic Day celebrations. Despite the ludicrous time- frame, only about two dozen engineers were drafted into the project. They had limited resources and even more limited experience. Some of them had never driven a car, let alone designed or engineered one, so didn't necessarily know quite what they were trying to achieve. Although said to be thwarted at every point by bureaucracy, they worked around the clock to pull apart any cars they could get their hands on, then reverse-engineer what they'd learnt into a prototype sedan known as the Devrim. That's Turkish for ''revolution''. The Devrim looked vaguely like a small piece of late-'50s Americana and was powered by a 2.0-litre engine developing about 38kW. Four were built; the two most finished examples were put on the train to Ankara for the celebrations but even they weren't that finished. One was reputedly painted en route. There hadn't been time to make engineering drawings, either, meaning series production was going to be difficult. Still, in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd, the president stepped into the new Turkish sedan outside the national parliament. A dream was about to be realised. Or not. One hundred metres later, the car spluttered to a halt and the embarrassed president jumped out, presumably muttering the Turkish word for ''bugger''. He climbed into the second car and, although that went further, the damage was done. Devrim jokes circulated and the president himself threw in a few jibes for good measure. The problem was simple and minor: in the rush, the first car hadn't been fuelled. General G is quoted (in one translation) as saying: ''The team developed the automobile with Western mind; however, forgot to supply the fuel with Eastern mind.'' The event spelt the end of the Devrim, so at least the lack of engineering drawings no longer mattered. In concept, the Devrim was nothing new. The Holden and the VW Beetle (pre-war and postwar versions) are among many cars pushed by governments with at least one eye on nation-boosting. Sadly, the Devrim was more a nation-reducing exercise. In 2009, Turkish director Tolga Ornek made Chariots of Revolution (or Devrim Arabalari). Some might worry about a film set mostly inside the Eskisehir Train and Locomotive Manufacturing Plant of State Railroad Directorate but it has received rave reviews. Now to find an English subtitled copy . . .
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