Queen Elizabeth: Greater Than Sum of Her Car Parts?

The 253-lb. creation uses components including the engine, wheels, interior, seating, electrical components and trim. The parts include lights from an Austin K2 truck of the sort the future monarch would have maintained during World War II.

April 20, 2016

2 Min Read
quotHeavy is the head that wears the spark plugs shyshyshy After Shakespeare Henry IV
"Heavy is the head that wears the spark plugs.ˮ ­­­- After Shakespeare, ‟Henry IVˮ

In the final months of World War II, Princess Elizabeth donned coveralls, assumed her official name – Elizabeth Windsor – and learned to dismantle and rebuild engines, change tires and drive ambulances as a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Technical Service, a branch of the British Army.

As the U.K.’s longest-serving monarch, who turns 90 on Thursday, accolades are pouring in from around the world. But there may be none quite like the portrait assembled with six car bumpers, 10 headlights, 125 spark plugs, more than 165 ft. (50 m) of cables and hoses among more than 800 individual car parts.

To honor the Queen’s birthday and her contribution to the war effort, artist David Parfitt recruited technicians from the Kwik Fit chain of auto-repair and -maintenance shops to log 280 hours creating an image of the monarch titled Queen of Parts.

Measuring 9.8 ft.-by-8.2 ft. (3.5 m-by-2.5 m) and weighing 253 lbs. (115 kg ), the portrait uses parts virtually found throughout a car, including the engine, wheels, interior, seating, lights, electrical components and trim. The parts include lights from an Austin K2 truck of the sort the future monarch would have worked on during the war.

Individual features of the rendering and the parts used to represent them, include:

  • Crown: created from spark plugs, indicator lenses, brake lights and chrome trim.

  • Earrings: styled from headlight reflectors and chromed nuts.

  • Hair: weaved from tires, electric leads, duct pipes, wiring loom and hoses.

  • Skin: layered gaskets, bumpers, soft panels, water bottles, washers, air filters, bodywork and radiator grilles.

  • Eyes: produced from washers and blue control-cable wreaths (Her pupils are water pumps).

  • Dress: constructed from brake discs, air filters, springs, spark plugs, mirrors, pulleys and fuel-filler caps.

  • Lips: fabricated from hoses and brackets.

  • Necklace: fashioned from headlights, mirrors and radiator grilles.

“The Queen is one of the most respected and admired women in the world, so there was considerable pressure to produce a tribute that honored her appropriately,“ Parfitt says in a news release.

“By spending huge amounts of time ensuring we were meticulous, and being conscious of the fact that moving the tiniest part could make a big difference to the overall look, we think the finished portrait is a fitting acknowledgment of the contribution she made.

“We hope our Kwik Fit portrait gets the royal seal of approval.”

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