Quirky News

  • 2 July 2012, 16:42

How extreme mechanic survived desert

Emile Leray and his creation /Rex

A Frenchman pulled off a remarkable escape from the Moroccan desert - by building a motorcycle out of his crashed car.

Emile Leray, then a 43-year-old retired electrician, decided to drive his Citroen 2CV from the Moroccan city of Tan Ta across the desert back in 1993.

But he crashed and the car was undrivable - so he came up with his Mad Max style solution rather than risk trying to make it on foot.

Mr Leray's extraordinary tale has only just come to light after appearing on the internet and quickly going viral.

Now 62 and living in northwest France, he has been described as the most 'extreme' mechanic in the world.

His problems in Morocco began when he was stopped at a military outpost and informed that he couldn't go any further.

Faced with prospect of returning to Tan Ta, Mr Leray decided instead to go off road to navigate around the restricted area.

But, unfortunately for him, the rocky and bumpy terrain soon caused problems and he lost control of his car before crashing into a rock.

The impact caused the Citroen's swing arm and wheel axle to snap - leaving the car undrivable.

With the nearest village at least 20 miles away, Mr Leray didn't feel he would be able to make it on foot.

Luckily, he had a small cache of supplies, water for several days and a few tools, including a hacksaw.

Mr Leray decided that his best course of action was to use parts from his car to create a makeshift motorbike.

He started by removing the Citroen's body, which he then used as a shelter to sleep under.

To build the bike he shortened the car's chassis before reattaching the axles and two of the wheels, as well as installing the engine and gearbox in the middle.

He had thought that it would take him just a few days to construct the motorcycle, but in the end it took 12.

Eventually, however, it was complete and, with just half-a-litre of water left, Mr Leray started his ride back to civilisation.

The going wasn't easy and he regularly fell off the seat, which was made from part of the car's rear bumper.

After a day of riding, he was picked up by the Moroccan police who drove him to the nearest village.

They also handed him a hefty fine because the registration documents for his car no longer corresponded to what he was driving.

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