Emile Leray Used Broken Car Parts To Build A Motorcycle And Escape The Desert

Back in 1993, Emile Leray, sometimes called a real life Tony Stark or Mad Max, found a way to escape the African desert. After his Citroen 2CV broke down 20 miles from the nearest village, he went into a survival mode and started using the car parts to build himself a functional motorcycle.

This happened when he was driving from the city of Tan Ta across the Moroccan desert. ‘I wanted to do it off road because I had travelled round Africa about 10 times, so I knew the region well and therefore had no concerns. I decided to do it in a 2CV because, although it is not a 4×4, it is tough. In Africa they call it the ‘Steel Camel’ because it goes everywhere — provided you drive it gently. One must not be rough. I obviously was too rough because I broke it. I could not have gone back on foot — it was too far. I put myself in what one calls survival mode. I ate less; I monitored my supplies of water and of food to make them last as long as possible.’

Emile Leray Next To His Broken Car In The Desert

Emile Leray and his broken Citroen 2CV in the desert.

At that point he decided he had to do everything in his power to survive. He shortened the chassis and placed it at the center of the motorcycle, turned the car’s rear bumper into a seat and built the front wheel with suspension. He also placed the engine and gearbox in the middle. At the end, it took him 12 days to finish it, which was a perfect result giving in consideration he had just half a litre of water left that last day.

Emile Leray's Motorcycle

Emile Leray’s escape vehicle.

After a day of riding his custom built motorcycle, police found him and drove him to the nearest village. The funny thing about this story is that the police issued him a fine for not having proper documents for this vehicle. To this very day Emile Leray kept his life-saving motorcycle. (image source)

Emile Leray With His Motorcycle

Many years later, Emile Leray still has his motorcycle.

Daily Newsletter

Subscribe to Jebiga for a dose of the best in gear, design, rides, tech and adventure.