(Image/Tinman 2 Kustoms)

Our pals at Summit Racing have been helping out on a really slick custom 1940 Chevy two-door sedan build affectionately dubbed “Tinmama.”

The hot rod is being built by Tinman 2 Kustoms in Isanti, MN. Shop owner Luke Merrill, 26, has done everything from restorations and customs, to slammed rat trucks and radical hot rods—all out of a shop that probably looks a lot like yours.

The Chevy is a long-running project for Luke’s mom, hence the name Tinmama. The car has been chopped, widened, and shaved. It sits on a chassis with a Nova subframe, an independent rear suspension from a 2017 Mustang, and a full airbag suspension. Power will come courtesy of a fuel-injected 400 cubic-inch small block.


This is the latest project from Tinman 2 Kustoms. It’s a 1940 Chevy that was bought to make a street rod for Tinman owner Luke Merrill’s mother. The car was an on-again, off-again project for more than 20 years until Luke decided to finish it. Named Tinmama, the ’40 has been chopped, widened, and shaved, and sits on a chassis fitted with a Nova front subframe, 2017 Mustang IRS, and a complete airbag suspension suitable for laying serious frame. Power will come from a fuel injected 400-cube small block. (Image/Tinman 2 Kustoms)

Tinman 2 came to Summit Racing’s attention thanks to Wild Torquey, a 1931 Chevy 4-door sedan that won Merrill a Top 10 Young Gun and a Top 40 Overall awards at the 2017 SEMA Show.

The car features a 5.9L Cummins turbodiesel with twin-compound turbochargers and a big dose of nitrous. On the bottle, the Cummins makes 800 horsepower and 1,500 foot-pounds of torque.

Watch the entire build from start to finish on the Tinman 2 Kustoms Wild Torquey YouTube playlist.

“This build started out as a project for my dad in 1990. He had built a nice 1941 Chevy pickup and mom wanted to have her own hot rod to go to shows with him,” Merrill said. “He bought the shell of a 1940 Chevy two-door sedan, chopped the top, and made some light sheetmetal mods.

“The car was always on-and-off the backburner, so I decided to commit full-time to finishing my mom’s dream car. I will take it to this year’s SEMA Show and hopefully bring back some more awards, but what’s far more important is giving mom the hot rod she has been waiting so long for.”


What do you do when you see a Cummins-powered ’31 Chevy pulling a gooseneck trailer with a slammed Chevy C-10 on it? You give the builder an award. Merrill took this combination to the 2017 SEMA Show and was promptly given Top 10 Young Gun and Top 40 Overall awards. Named Wild Torquey, the Chevy features a 5.9L Cummins turbodiesel with twin-compound turbochargers and a big dose of nitrous. On the bottle, the Cummins makes 800 horsepower and 1,500 ft.-lbs. of torque. (Image/Tinman 2 Kustoms)

One cool thing about Merrill’s projects is that he posts tons of video updates on his YouTube channel so you can follow a build from start to finish. He even makes tech videos to teach you how to do many of the things he does during a project, like making patch panels and grafting a front subframe to a chassis. It’s a wonder he has any time to build an actual car.


Merrill helped his father build this 1941 Chevy pickup. Other than the back window, nothing was left stock. It was smoothed and chopped, fitted with a custom grille, air dam, and quad canted headlights, and given frenched 1963 Mercury taillights in the rear fenders. Many parts were machined by Merrill’s dad including the running board step plates, interior knobs, door handles, and window cranks. Power comes from a mild Chevy 350 backed by a Turbo 400 transmission. See more of the ’41 on Tinman 2’s YouTube channel. (Image/Tinman 2 Kustoms)

Though it’s not finished yet, you can check out Tinman 2 Kustoms’ special Tinmama YouTube build playlist here.

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Author: Alan Rebescher

Editor, author, PR man—Alan Rebescher has done it all in a 25 year career in the high performance industry. He has written and photographed many feature stories and tech articles for Summit Racing and various magazines including Hot Rod, Car Craft, and Popular Hot Rodding, and edited Summit Racing’s Street & Strip magazine in the 1990s. His garage is currently occupied by a a 1996 Mustang GT ragtop.