1940 Chevrolet 2-Door Sedan

Light Painting a Cool 1940 Chevrolet 2-Door Sedan

Here’s the story of a really cool light painting of an amazing 1940 Chevrolet 2-Door Sedan. This stunning restoration of the car that’s named “Tinmama”, was done by Luke Merrill, owner of Tinman II Kustoms in Isanti, Minnesota.

A 1940 Chevy 2-Door Sedan at an old lumberyard.

Luke’s 1940 Chevy 2-Door Sedan prior to light painting.

I met Luke as a result of his “Best of Show” win with “Tinmama” at Motorhead Madness in Duluth, MN, this past March. Motorhead Madness literally ends once the awards presentation is over on late Sunday afternoon. I think that’s where the “madness” part comes from! As soon as everyone walks out of the awards presentation, they pack up everything and go home! It’s crazy!

Motorhead Madness – Best of Show

I donated a light painting gift certificate to the guys that run Motorhead Madness so that they could sweeten the pot for the “Best of Show” winner. That winner for 2022 was Luke for his amazing work on Tinmama.

Once the awards presentation had concluded, I went up to congratulate and introduce myself to Luke. In the chaos of him getting his picture taken and all the excitement, I had to ask him where his car was located in the Duluth Convention Arena so I could at least see it. At this point, Luke also had no idea what he’d won from me! He wouldn’t know that for a while yet.

The Spring That Never Really Came

As you all know, spring 2022 really didn’t arrive on time, if at all. We kind of went straight into summer once mid-May got here. So, that meant not getting Luke’s 1940 Chevrolet 2-Door Sedan light painting scheduled to be done until early July. I sent Luke some links to some light paintings that I’d done, so he’d have an idea of what we were going to do with his creation.

We also spent a couple of hours in late June driving around Isanti and Cambridge looking for a spot to light paint Tinmama. We settled on the property of First Baptist Church in Cambridge, MN.

Across the street from the church, they have this unique building. It’s a former lumber yard, and looks pretty cool! We talked to a gentleman that was doing some work there, and he set us up with an impromptu meeting with the pastor, who, in turn, set us up with a meeting with the church property manager, Matt. All of these meetings happened right there in front of the former lumberyard in less than 30 minutes!

Pastor give his blessing (pardon that pun), and Matt was good to go as well. Once we had a date, I texted Matt, so he would know to expect us that night. The weather cooperated, and we got the light painting of Luke’s beautiful 1940 Chevrolet 2-Door Sedan completed on a nice summer night in July.

A beautiful light painted photograph of a 1940 Chevy 2-Door Sedan.

The completed light painting of “TinMama”!

Just the Facts

Here are some of the interesting tidbits about the work that went into creating the Tinmama:

This Chevy 2 door is the result of more than 1,000 hours of extensive bodywork, including a chop, widened modification on the front/rear, shaved, smoothed, wretched lights, pancaked, and more.

It has a 2107 Mustang IRS graft and a 1970 Nova IFS graft. An Air Lift Performance air suspension keeps the ride low, and a Chevy 5.7L V8 powers this classic.

There’s a one-off dash, custom leather interior, custom wheels, and Summit Racing Paints, and parts were used throughout. Luke personally did 95% of the work on this build in his backyard garage.

The Stats


1,000+ hours of metalwork by Tinman

All steel, every panel has been modified

Chopped top (4” front, 3” rear)

The front clip was widened 8”

Rear fenders were widened 3” each

Front fenders were re-peaked to tuck tires

Front valance/nose & fenders stretched down 3”

All of the wheel openings were reshaped for flow

One-piece front fenders & filler panels

Steel body lines added to cowl for flow

Hood: One-pieced, pancaked, shaved clean and body lines extended around the nose.

Shaved: Headlights, blinkers, door handles, door hinges, trunk hinges, trunk handle, cowl vent, wipers, bumpers, all trim, and dip rails.

Relocated Hagan gas door

Off rear roll pan

Frenched License Plate

Tuliped drip rail, rear taillights & exhaust

Door corners were rounded to flow better

Handmade running boards

Modified Chev’s of the 40’s Billet Grill

Reshaped & stretched hood-side panels

One-off inner fender panels

Oracle Headlights relocated behind the grill

Homemade taillights with Oracle bulbs


Custom Pearl Metallic named “Sinful Seaweed” (Bench mixed using Summit Racing Paints)

Body/Paint by Tinman & Friends

Wet-ended Ceramic Coat by M&B Paint Correction

Luke’s Art Meets My Art

2022 Motorhead Madness "Best of Show" Poster

2022 Motorhead Madness “Best of Show” Poster that I created for them.

All of that hard work is what went into Luke’s winning the “Best of Show” in Duluth. It also is why my completed light painting of his 1940 Chevrolet 2-Door Sedan looks so amazing too! Thank you, Luke, for allowing me to create this for you! I do hope that we get to do another one together down the road!

“1940 Chevrolet 2-Door Sedan” © 2022 Michael Anderson Photography.

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