Biography

Tarhan Telli
Tarhan TELLİ (TT)

He was born in İstanbul on June 21st, 1980 as the only 11th generation heir to the Tellioğlu family. The little TT, called “my duplicate” by his grandfather Turhan Telli, who was also a TT, spent all his pre-school period breaking down his toys, modifying them and playing with the vehicles he had built himself.

His passion to seek and do what is different from the first times when he broke his toys down in order to do what he had in mind constitutes the source of the dynamics behind his behaviors. At the age of 15, he said to his childhood friend İlhan Sabancı “Wait and see İlhan, I’m gonna do that” and at the age of 16, saving their weekly allowances they bought a motorcycle in secret and hid it from their parents at a car wash in Etiler for 3 years, and learnt how to ride.

His father İrfan Telli bought him an American off-road vehicle from a junkyard when he was 16. For 2 years until he obtained his driving license, he spent all of his time at the auto repair shops “playing with these vehicles” Tarhan Telli puts it. He increased 4-cylinders to 8-cylinders; he changed straight gear to automatic; he modified color or furnishings. One day an engine fell on top of him and broke his ribs. To sum up, he carried out every modification possible on the vehicles and gained experience. What’s more, because of the time he spent at the auto repair shops, his friends suspected that he was in love with the daughter of one of the car mechanics. Yet, there was one thing in his mind and heart: to realize his dream and succeed. As a child, breaking apart his new toys into pieces and building his own vehicles with those parts, TT now felt that turning this passion into a lifestyle and living this way was indispensable for his existence. Sure of what he wanted to do, TT decided to study visual design communication in Bahçeşehir University. At the same time he continued practicing customization, modification and experimental works on personalization.

All those negative commentaries and disbelief of the people in his life with whom he shared his dreams and plans made him ambitious and persevere to disprove their thoughts. After university, he went to the U.S.A. saying “I want to see what the difference between us is.” “They found me very weird. There is someone at their door, who says ‘Take me on, I’ll pay you if you do’ For them, I was a Mexican Turk… They recruited me, I worked and learnt the skills of the job, I even mopped the floors. But when I said I, too, was going to build a motorcycle, they used to call me ‘Mad Turk’ laughing at my face.Today, the very same companies try to rent space next to mine at the motorcycle shows.” says TT. His aim was to observe, to gain experience and see what they do. To accomplish this, he worked for 2,5 years with numerous motorcycle manufacturers in different states of the USA by paying his employers $14.75 per day, and in the end he returned home with his goals bigger than ever.

TT thought that it was ridiculous to be dependent on importations even for a single part and he went abroad to see if something was missing in our country and he saw that nothing was missing, that we were capable of doing even better, that we were more intelligent and that we needed to create our own brand and globalize to achieve success. He knows from experience that customization through one-to-one relation with the customer is appropriate to the spirit of Chopper. With this belief he founded TT Custom Choppers in 2005.