'Queen of Parts': car components used for royal birthday portrait

Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:24pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Queen Elizabeth has been painted and photographed by some of Britain's top artists and photographers. Now there is an image of her made from components usually found in a mechanic's garage.

To mark the 90th birthday of Britain's longest-reigning monarch on Thursday, a company specializing in auto parts repair has unveiled a 3 meter (10 ft), 115 kg (250 lb) portrait of Elizabeth made out of hundreds of car and truck components.

A team led by artist David Parfitt used spark plugs, petrol caps, hoses, gaskets, bumpers and headlights for the "Queen of Parts" portrait to create Elizabeth's face, hair, jewelry and clothing.

For the crown, they used brake and indicator lights from an Austin K2, a type of military truck that Elizabeth did mechanical training on in 1945. She served as a mechanic in a branch of the British Army.

"Many people don't know that our queen is actually Britain's most famous mechanic," Dhiren Master, marketing director at Kwik Fit, whose technicians made the artwork, said in a video release.

"During World War Two, she did her part in serving the country by joining the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Services where she served as a mechanic and a driver."

Born on April 21, 1926, Elizabeth last year surpassed the 23,226-day reign of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

(Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth arrives for the official opening of the Bandstand at Alexandra Gardens in Windsor, Britain April 20, 2016.   REUTERS/Toby Melville