Queen of Parts

The Queen of Parts - Kwik Fit for a Queen!

During the Second World War, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II served as a mechanic in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, a branch of the British Army. At her own insistence, Elizabeth learned how to change a wheel, deconstruct and rebuild engines, and drive ambulances.

To honour Her Majesty’s 90th birthday and her contribution to the war effort, our Kwik Fit technicians teamed up with artist David Parfitt to create this technical tribute utilising over 800 individual car components.

Queen On Tour

Come and see the Queen's automotive portrait for yourself! The Queen of Parts is going on tour and is visiting Kwik Fit centres in 8 cities around the UK.

Date Location
1st June Edinburgh: Kwik Fit, 21 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6DD
2nd June Newcastle: Kwik Fit, Four Lane Ends, Longbenton, NE7 7UH
3rd June Manchester: Kwik Fit, 1-3 Church Street, Altrincham, WA14 4DB
4th June Birmingham: Kwik Fit, 2119 Coventry Road, Sheldon, B26 3EA
6th June Penzance: Kwik Fit, Jelbert Way, Penzance, TR18 3DW
8th June Brighton: Kwik Fit, 26 Teville Road, Worthing, BN11 1UG
8th June Windsor: Kwik Fit, 21A Alma Road, London, SL4 3HP
9th June London: Kwik Fit, 134-137 London Road, Kingston, KT2 6NH

The Making of a Monarch

There are over 800 British-made parts used in the portrait which are representative of all the different elements of a motor vehicle – including the engine, wheels, interior, seating, lights, electrics and trim. There are over 50 metres of cables and hoses, 125 spark plugs, 60 gaskets, 150 washers, 24 pumps, 20m of leads, 10 headlights, 6 bumpers and hundreds of springs, nuts and bolts.

Notable aspects of the three-and-a-half-metre by two-and-a-half-metre sculpture which weights 115kg, dubbed Queen of Parts, include:

The Crown – created from spark plugs, indicator lenses, brake lights and chrome trim

Earrings – styled from headlight reflectors and chromed nuts

Hair – weaved from tyres, electric leads, duct pipes, wiring loom and hoses

Skin – layered gaskets, bumpers, soft panels, water bottles, washers, air filters, bodywork and radiator grills

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 petrol caps

Lips – comprised of hoses and brackets

Necklace – fashioned from headlights, mirrors and radiator grills

A crew of four worked on the construction of the monarch’s mechanical mirror image; a process which took over 280 man hours to complete. The team was led by artist David Parfitt, with the support of our Kwik Fit technicians including Stuart Packham, Dan Read and Pete Hunt from our South-Eastern centres.

The team began by gathering and assessing different images of Her Majesty to use for the basis to the portrait (including her 2002 Canadian Jubilee portrait) before settling on a design of her resplendent in the George IV State Diadem crown.

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 giant crown itself includes brake and indicator lights from an original Austin K2 – one of the types of military vehicles that Her Majesty completed her mechanical training on in 1945.

The Artist: David Parfitt

“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!”

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