Angoulême: Gabrielle Huyghe painted her car after her picture

Nothing predestined Gabrielle, the only daughter of a couple of organic sheep breeders in Saint-Sornin-la-Marche, near Bellac, to move towards an artistic career. “But I’ve always loved making things out of saved things my mom has accumulated over the years”, slips Gabrielle, 19 years. But there is a step from there to redoing a car’s exterior and interior. That the young woman cheerfully crossed.

“The choice of this car model was a natural choice because there are about ten of them on the farm, it is a very practical vehicle to house a sheep cage or sleep in it. There are some in good condition and others used for spare parts », explains Gabrielle Huyghe. Earlier, she got her fingers in a farm car “to show my parents that I was able to complete my project”.

It is a very practical vehicle to put a sheep cage or sleep in.


The student even re-patinated the interior with buttons and a gear knob made from lego pieces.

Photo by Renaud Joubert

The transition from childhood to adulthood

The student found a 405 station wagon in good condition on the Internet. “It was white, it was ideal not to have to do too much preparatory work before repainting it”, she explains. And the choice to give a color to each body element? “I wanted to illustrate the transition from childhood to adulthood through all these colors”, Gabrielle explains. Which grows into coquetry to the point where she drapes herself in an outfit that suits her car: yellow raincoat, a green T-shirt, patchwork shorts reminiscent of her car, half-blonde bangs, the other redhead, earrings handmade ears with a small rubber duck and a Playmobil as a pendant!

To create her artwork on wheels, she used spray paint intended for agricultural machinery. “There are many more color choices, though I struggled to find the green one that I liked because John Deere tractors do not have quite the same green depending on their year of manufacture.”she laughs. “This agricultural paint costs less than the car brands, I got it for 250 € in total”, Gabrielle laughs again.

Vandalism and sweet talk

Not a specialist in bodywork, the student did not separate a single element of Michel (le). She painted them piece by piece and protected the others with paper. Gabrielle Huyghe took care of the interior herself. There we discover a floor covered with training mats with automobile circuits, pieces of Lego as buttons on the air intake console in the cabin, a green, yellow, blue and red gear lever sleeve – the dominant exterior colors – and a steering wheel cover in the same colors. A true Fine Arts version customization that would have its place in a car show, or even better at Frac, the regional fund for contemporary art!

Unfortunately, if the car catches the eye – Gabrielle no longer counts the horns of admiration, “even though I’m always afraid that someone will tell me about a mechanical problem with the car …” – it also makes petty criminals happy. “Since September and my arrival in Angoulême, I have found my doors forced several times and items had been stolen inside. And even though they were not of great value, I wanted them says Gabrielle, her clear eyes turning black. The sad ransom of originality. But they light up when they show all the little words of sympathy that she found stuck on Michel (le).

This car runs on frying oil!

In addition to its unique appearance, Gabrielle Huyghe’s 405 station wagon, 290,000 km on the odometer, has another peculiarity: It runs partly on used frying oil. “In fact, it’s a mixture of one – third oil, one – third biofuel and one – third diesel that my father also uses for his cars.”she says.
To get its oil supplies, it relies on the association Roule ma frite, based in Confolens, which collects used oil in restaurants. “Depending on the season, you can add more or less oil to the mixture, the student continues. On sunny days you can add more oil. Suddenly when I drive, the exhaust smells of french fries! »
This car is definitely not something normal.

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