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by Adam Lynton
Stranded and alone in an African desert, Frenchman builds motorcycle from a pile of Citroen 2CV parts and rides to freedom.
The story of Frenchman Emile Leray transforming his Citroen 2CV into a Mad Max style motorcycle in the African desert is one we felt to compel to share. The details are sketchy at best, and as far as we can make out it this amazing story of human endeavor in the face of adversity started in 1993. Leray had embarked on a solo mission to Northwest Africa and after a few days was forced off road in order to get around a restricted area.
Soon after he lost control and crashed into a rock, braking the car's frame rail and suspension swingarm, rendering the car paralyzed. With the nearest village tens of kilometers away, Leray felt trying to make it on foot was too much of a risk. Checking his provisions and weighing up his options, he felt the best course of action was to chop up the Citroen using a hacksaw and the few tools he had available and create a makeshift motorbike. Twelve days later and with just half-a-liter of water left, the transformation was complete.
Emile was able to fire up the machine and ride it to the nearest village, but not before he was arrested on suspicion of being an insurgent and fined for importing a non-confirming vehicle. Given there was nobody to verify the story as told by Emile, it could well fall into the category of urban myth. However, the makeshift Citroen two-wheeler is the real deal and an amazing piece of ingenuity MacGyver himself would be proud of.