News, Quirky

Kwik Fit fitters build giant Queen portrait

Kwik Fit has created an 11-foot high portrait of Her Majesty the Queen, made entirely out of car and truck parts.

Celebrating the monarch’s 90th birthday on Thursday 21st April, the technical tribute utilises over 800 individual components and was created by Kwik Fit’s staff. Also honouring Her Majesty’s contribution to the Second World War, during which she trained and served as an Army mechanic in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), a huge variety of parts enabled the team to create an accurate likeness, even down to the smallest detail.

Items used include spark plugs, indicator lenses, brake lights and chrome trim for her Crown. As a tribute, the brake and indicator lights in the crown were from an original Austin K2 – one of the types of military vehicles that Her Majesty completed her mechanical training on in 1945.

The earrings were styled from headlight reflectors and chromed nuts while the Queen’s hair was weaved from tyres, electric leads, duct pipes, wiring loom and hoses. For skin, the Kwik Fit engineers used layered gaskets, bumpers, soft panels, water bottles, washers, air filters, bodywork and radiator grills while the eyes were created using washers and blue control cable wreaths – her pupils are water pumps - and her lips are comprised of hoses and brackets. 

Her Majesty’s dress was constructed from brake discs, air filters, springs, spark plugs, mirrors, pulleys and petrol caps, while the necklace is fashioned from headlights, mirrors and radiator grills.

A crew of four worked for over 280 hours to complete the structure. The team was led by artist David Parfitt, with the support of Kwik Fit technicians including Stuart Packham, Dan Read and Pete Hunt from South-Eastern branches of the organisation. After gathering parts from a huge variety of vehicles, Parfitt then mapped out which elements would be used to create the different aspects of the portrait including her face, hair, clothing and jewellery. The final portrait weighs in at 115kg.

Artist David Parfitt said: “The Queen is one of the most respected and admired women in the world, so there was considerable pressure to produce a tribute that honoured her appropriately. 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 acknowledgement of the contribution she made. We hope our Kwik Fit portrait gets the royal seal of approval!”

The artwork Queen of Parts will be touring Kwik Fit centres up and down the country. Afterwards, staff hope to present the artwork to curators at The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace for inclusion in the royal collection.

See behind the scenes footage of the build below: