Watch: Mad Genius Breaks Car; Rides Out on Bike Made From Its Parts

   08.22.17

Watch: Mad Genius Breaks Car; Rides Out on Bike Made From Its Parts

Back in 2012 (some sources even say 2003), you may have heard the story of the mad genius Emile Leray, who managed to break his Citroën 2CV car in the African desert in 1993–and then cannibalize the car to build a motorcycle out of its parts.

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The original version of the story can be seen at Oddity Central; here are the high points.

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Emile… was driving his Citroen 2CV across the Sahara. Upon reaching a military outpost, he is informed by the Royal Gendermerie that he cannot continue… He turns his car around and [goes around the] post. After venturing off road, on rocky and bumpy terrain, it doesn’t take too long for his car to break down, after brutally hitting a rock. Emile is now stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Emile starts work on his DIY motorcycle… by removing the body, which he uses as shelter against sandstorms. He fits the wheel arm upside down on a smaller chassis, adding the engine and gearbox in the middle.

[He had] no drills, blowtorches or welding equipment. Emile Leray created his two-wheeler only by screwing the parts together. To make the needed holes, he bent the pieces of metal to a 90 degree angle and weakened the thinner areas using a hacksaw or a round file, puncturing them with hammer and punch.

[H]e only succeeded after twelve days of hard work. With only 1/2 liter of water left, he managed to ride his motorcycle out of the desert. On his way to civilization, Leray was actually pulled over by the Gendermerie for driving an illegal vehicle.

Seat = end of rear bumper covered by dashboard fabric and tape. Right brake drum prevented form moving so differential will only drive the left side. Front wheel is the only one with suspension.
Seat = end of rear bumper covered by dashboard fabric and tape.
Right brake drum prevented form moving so differential will only drive the left side.
Front wheel is the only one with suspension.

Recently, someone decided to make a video about Leray, featuring the man himself and hearing his story in his own words. And 24 years later, he still has the infamous motorbike.

Only the center of the chassis was used. The left brake drum drives the rear wheel via friction (transmission must be in reverse), max speed 20 KPH.
Only the center of the chassis was used.
The left brake drum drives the rear wheel via friction (transmission must be in reverse), max speed 20 KPH.
Handle bar was made from lifter; attached are clutch, ignition, and starter switch. The original Citroën license plate didn't prevent him from being fined by police. Kickstand made from fuel filler tube.
Handle bar was made from lifter; attached are clutch, ignition, and starter switch.
The original Citroën license plate didn’t prevent him from being fined by police.
Kickstand made from fuel filler tube.

In the quoted summation above, I left out certain, er, “creativities” inserted by the author. And there’s one thing they left out: after he drove out and met up with the police, the cops celebrated his inventiveness by fining him 4550 dirhams (about 450 Euros, he says) for driving a vehicle other than the one he brought into the country. Never mind that he really was driving parts of it; his new version failed to “conform to the specifications of the Citroën 2CV.”

Dang.

Here’s a 2011 video with a short clip of him riding the bike. Prepare yourself for weirdness after the bike, though, because if you keep watching you will witness a bit of vehicular procreation, as it were…

It makes a good story, and if it’s not true, don’t tell me. I want to believe that when my flivver breaks down in the boonies, I will be able to cobble together something that will work to drive me out.

Here’s the new video… enjoy.

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