Cartoon car with a message in memory of Luke hits the road

Luke Hendrick's Honda Del Sol sports car, which has been turned into Lightning McQueen from the Disn

Luke Hendrick's Honda Del Sol sports car, which has been turned into Lightning McQueen from the Disney Pixar Cars films to raise awareness of sepsis. - Credit: Archant

A father has transformed his car into a beloved film character to raise awareness of a rare medical condition which suddenly claimed the life of his son.

Father-of-two Luke Hendrick, formerly of Newton Poppleford, died of sepsis in September last year, at the age of 37, having been unwell with an undiagnosed infection.

Now, his father Laurie has turned Luke’s Honda Del Sol sports car into Lightning McQueen from the Disney Pixar Cars movies.

Laurie said: “The car was my son’s and I thought it appropriate to use it in his name, to help make this killer condition more public.

“Whenever it is driven around, the car gets plenty of looks, children especially recognise it as Lightning McQueen and people have taken photos when it’s been parked-up.

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“I have added a speaker and broadcast system that replicates Lightning McQueen’s voice, so that when it’s stationary at an event, it would seem that the car is speaking to people.”

Laurie carried out the customisation work himself, but the graphics were designed and supplied by the Flipping Sweet sticker company in Yorkshire and applied in Exmouth.

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Work is still ongoing, with Laurie currently modifying the car’s front bumper to replicate Lightning McQueen’s smiling mouth.

Luke’s death came after he had been feeling unwell for several weeks, suffering symptoms thought to be flu.

In fact, a streptococcus A infection had developed into sepsis.

If caught early, it can be treated with antibiotics, but Luke’s infection became invasive and affected his vital organs.

Part of the motivation for the Lightning McQueen project is that ‘sepsis acts like lightning’.

Laurie has booked-in the car to appear at Exeter’s Princesshay in February, where he will be collecting donations for Sepsis Trust UK.

In the future, he is also planning to drive the car round the whole of the UK mainland to raise awareness.

But first, he is looking for local Christmas events at which the car could appear.

Anyone organising an event which might be suitable is invited to contact Laurie by emailing

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