26 July 2007

The Vehicles of the Silk Road 2007 Rally at the Armada Garage

The Silk Road 2007 Rally will cover over 16 countries and is being realised with a significant number of participants who will stop over in Istanbul between July 27th and July 29th, 2007. The team of the Rally consists of 130 competing persons through the 2 horsepower Citroen cars. These vehicles of the Rally will be hosted by the "Armada Garage" when they arrived at Istanbul!

Below are the first cars and the members of the team those already arrived at the Garage:

Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and the USA will be represented and supported by the world meida in this biggest rally of the world particularly with its route that covering over 30.000 kilometers started in Noyal-sur-Vilaine (France) in July 21st will end in Paris by October 3, 2007.

The Route:

For the visuals of the vehicles please see:

10 July 2007

A “Second Lease of Life” to the “0321-H” Mercedes Benz Vintage Bus of Armada

Armada first restored "one of the oldest Mercedes Benz buses of Istanbul" in 1997 and it was used as its own vehicle for the past ten years. Now, it is back in the city traffic again but this time with its sugary pink and blue new look!

The Armada Hotel has adopted preserving the Istanbul lifestyle and culture as a corporate philosophy since 1994 and in line with this principle; found one of the oldest Mercedes buses of Istanbul to put it back into service by restoring the vehicle in 1997. The distinguishing features of the "Mercedes Benz" buses of 1950's tourism world were their relocated motor from the front to the back, thus providing a better voice isolation and the additional comfort that was provided by enhanced heat-insulation. Therefore, these buses took the priority over trains, which were then the traditional means of transportation for touristic purposes but could only move between fixed points!

The same Mercedes Benz bus that Armada had found was also hired in Istanbul for the inner city transportation and the tourist tours from the 1950s to the 1970s.
When Armada put the "0321-H" into service, all Istanbul lovers and particularly the 50's generation were very happy while members of the younger generation were also amused by this chance to see an icon from the past in action (One can find the discussions on the Armada's bus by some bus-enthusiasts here within the links of the "Wow-Turkey" Forum: http://wowturkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=22859&start=0).

With its original steering wheel that was made out of horn, the netting shelves for the luggage of the passengers, its rounded lines and dimensions convenient for strolling around every corner of the historical peninsula, the vintage 0321-H, has gained great coverage in the Turkish press. When the Mercedes Benz headquarters heard the news, they decided to send a team to Istanbul and check if the old bus was really performing. Armada organized a trip for the Mercedes team and they witnessed that the old bus was really able to travel comfortably, even able to pass under the old city arches. Upon their return to Germany, the team turned the subject into a news story and published it in the internationally circulated Mercedes Magazine, announcing that the bus was "the single sample in its own category that is able to professionally sustain its life within the city traffic in Europe".

Since then, the faithful and long serving bus of Armada has witnessed a heap of events. If only it could tell all about them! All this time, it carried the corteges of wedding ceremonies, groups of tourists and Istanbul enthusiasts… It became a film set, it was used in the advertisements but it never complained or attempted to go out of order…

In any case, after this busy period between 1997 and 2007, it was time for it to take a well-deserved break and to freshen up and become beautiful again.

Having lived long enough to reach the "information age", the veteran "0321-H" was able to utilize the Internet in order to access the resources needed for a "second aesthetic operation". For this reason, the Armada team contacted collectors from almost all around the world and searched for the most original and attractive visuals. Firstly the colors and the original patterns were found. Then it was restored again by correcting the errors from the previous restoration and by remaining true to the originals 80-90%. The new pink and blue colors were preferred as these were the most popular ones in the tourism public transport in the 1950's.

So, here is the second lease of life story for "one of the oldest Mercedes buses of Istanbul" that is under the protection of the Armada Hotel… We hope that it will stay around many more years to bring happy memories into the lives of many more people…