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Emile Leray does an Iron Man in 1993: Converts his broken car into a motorcycle in the middle of a Moroccan desert

Emile Leray, a Frenchman has traveled through many deserts at various points in his life, due to the kind of projects he undertakes. Back in 1993, his project required him to travel across a Moroccan desert. Being a Frenchman, Emile preferred to travel in a Peugeot or a Renault, most of the times. For this project, Emile chose to travel in his Peugeot 2CV. Emile started his journey with 40 liters of fuel (apart from a full tank), water, food (dates and oranges), toolbox, and folding metal shutters which will act as sand plates in the desert heat.

After crossing first check point, Emile countered some military officials who asked him to abandon his project and turn back. The reason, recently a conflict had erupted amongst Sahrawi (people of Sahara desert) and Moroccan authorities, because of which it was unsafe to pass the region.

Unwilling to return, Emile decided to continue with his journey by taking a longer route around the conflict area. After a certain point, Emile faced another obstruction, this time it was more serious. Traveling through a bumpy terrain, Emily lost control of his car which bumped a little higher than it should have and landed on a rock, breaking frame arm and bending front wheel.

After evaluating the situation, Emile decided to take rest and have dinner as the night was fast approaching.  The next day, Emile started weighing his options, most logical of which was to leave the car and look for a nearby village, which would take him many days of searching without any specific direction. But then, what if Emile failed to find a village or even if he did, what are the chances of him tracking his way back to the same place where his car is stranded. Remember this is back in 1993, so he was without any fancy satellite navigation system or GPS.

Emile had other crazy option, to use the broken car and convert it into another form of motorized vehicle, in this case a motorcycle. Having patience, time and a toolbox at his disposal, Emile started working towards developing a motorcycle from a broken car in the middle of world’s largest desert.

After surviving 12 days in the hot and cold weather of desert along with some sandstorms, Emile had created a motorcycle which would run on gas and save his life. Following images will help you understand how Emile managed to create a motorcycle out of a broken car. Read on to understand how Emile managed to convert his broken car into a motorbike.

For management, the wheelhouse of the car is no longer used since the arm is upside down relative to the axle. Emile Leray therefore reverses the rod, head down, then bolted a steering rod bent appropriately so that a large tow bar, angled too, can control the pivoting of the wheel.

The rear wheel, which will become the driving wheel is turned on its axle, bolted under the chassis and not above. The wheel thus falls in the chassis, including the upper and lower plates are cut with the graver between the side rails to allow the passage of the wheel. It also cut the round tube fixing pots and suspension of the right internal vertical bulkhead. The beams are held together by naturally the sheet-shaped vertical arcs into which normally housing the gas tank. On the left there is the internal partition and exterior stringer, thus, cutting the top plate between the two, to develop a glove!

On two wheels, the chassis is obviously not stable. The chute fuel tank, bolted to the chassis on an axle of rear shock mounting, will serve as folding crutch. One of the half shell of the steering lock, suitably screwed to the stand, allows the wedge in the open position correctly.

Emile Leray then attacks “minor adjustments” of putting in place, the chassis, the motor-propeller in the center position and then, around the gas tank, battery and above all the rigging direction. The motor-box is fixed so that the left brake drum is placed on the tread of the tire of the rear wheel. To improve the attachment of the drum on the tire, Emile Leray notch the edge of the drum to the round file, between the cooling fins.

The right drum is immobilized by a wide flattened spar, bolted on the one hand on the drum, by a screw drive shaft and on the other hand one of the studs engine-gearbox assembly. This locks the differential, authorizing the power to go through the left drum, which rolls on the wheel, causing it.

To prevent the roller-drum, so the motor-box, shifting left or right of the tire, a motor support is fixed at one end on the gearbox by the tapping of the expansion chamber and on the other hand on a longitudinal member at a support tube of the pot suspension. The gear shift is by manipulating directly the short stem that protrudes from the gearbox, and which is usually attached a long curved tube (which was later transformed into a clutch lever!) For ease of handling , this stem is capped with the ball of the shift lever.

The motion transmission in place, yet to install the handlebars and saddle. Regarding the saddle, the thing is shipped quickly: One end of the rear bumper, a wider version fortunately, is cut and roughly shaped chisel with a hammer. Portions of the foam padding of the dashboard are removed, placed in several layers on the piece of bumper and then wrapped with wide orange tape.

Bolted to the chassis, left side, the lever controlling the parking brake cables is now supporting the saddle.

<To stay within the law as possible, Emile Leray completes the back of the bike by attaching a license plate of his 2CV.

Handlebar and steering – The handlebar itself is formed by the tube of the jack, stripped of its internal mechanism, and the ends, wrapped in black tape, serve as handles.

Handlebar controls – There is no braking, no handlebars therefore at “only” on the left hand, the clutch lever, right hand, throttle in the middle and the ignition switch and push the starter.

The clutch lever is formed by the elbow of the gearbox. It is attached to the handlebar, and articulated by two half collars exhaust, which also maintain a wafer cut from the plastic panel and receiving the red push the starter. Another set of clamps keeps half, fixed below the handlebars, another rod (taken from the batch of tubes and profiles) at the end of which is attached the cable sheath clutch. These two necklaces also maintain, but over the handlebars, another piece of the dashboard with hazard flasher button recycled ignition switch.

Electrical – The battery is attached to the frame by its original flange and rubber bands cut from inner tubes of tires become useless. The coil is for its part fixed to the top of the breather oil by elastic seats.

The indicator of charge of the battery was extracted from the dashboard and fixed to one of the nuts of the body of the alternator. The regulator is itself strapped by a strip of rubber inner tube, the sleeve air inlet of the carburetor.

Reservoir – tank is positioned on the chassis at the front. It is based on transverse joints foam junction box chassis. One of these joints is wedged under a wide flange plate that securely strap the tank

Anti pollution – Tube Evaporative crankcase oil in breather outlet, the sleeve is pushed into the air intake of the carburetor.

Translation for the pictures:

The chassis was reduced to the central part, the front and back (longerons) have been taken off
Roller transmission: the brake drum is in vertical alignment with the back wheel, the rotation direction requires to drive in reverse, at 20km/h max

The seat was made from the extremity of the back bumper wrapped in the fabric of the dashboard, assembled with orange adhesive for the best effect.
The right drum is blocked so that the differential distributes all the power on the left.
The front steering wheel is the only one to profit from a suspension pot.

The handlebar is made of the lifter, emptied from its mechanism. On this solid piece are fixed the clutch command and the two electrical contacts: power supply for the ignition and starter.
The license plate isn’t superfluous, especially on this sort of prototype. It hasn’t however stopped a fine for “offense of importing a non-conform vehicle”.
The filling pipe will be transformed into a stand, essential, considering the weight of the machine.

Many think that this episode is entirely staged. Emile is reported to have a Phd in mechanical engineering, a fact that we can’t confirm, but find mention of in various places around the Web. There are many questions which suggest the entire episode is staged. Let us know what you think by leaving your interesting comments below.


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