Stained Glass Taillights on Old Vans and Trucks Are Real Automotive Art

If you’re tired of cookie-cutter mods on high-dollar cars, then let this be a breath of fresh air.

byCaleb Jacobs|
Culture photo
Lindsey Wonder


I understand it's not everyone's job to look at cars online. That said, there are days when I feel like I've seen it all. Hellcat swaps are only cool for so long until you get bored! Even the innovative can feel a little too familiar depending on what it is. But when I saw these stained glass taillights on an old Chevy Van, I was floored. This, my friends, is customization.

They're the work of Lindsey Wonder, a tattooer and stained glass maestro who's been doing this for a few years now. She started creating sun catchers and the like back in 2017 when a friend suggested she try her hand at taillights. Those were a little past her comfort zone at first, considering the precision required to create them. Because they're in a fixed frame with no room to grow or swell over time, they have to be just right from the start.

"Fast forward to 2020, I made a set of tail lights for my 1984 Chevy Van," Wonder told me. "I posted them to my Instagram and pretty quickly had people reaching out about custom sets for their vans. I decided it would be best to run them on my van to make sure they’re roadworthy before I started taking orders, and ran them for a full year almost daily driven. From there it grew pretty rapidly."

Lindsey Wonder

Wonder says she's made somewhere around 50 sets at this point with all kinds of designs. Each one is made to order and she explained that 90% of them won't be made again. That makes sense because people custom-order parts to stand out, not blend in.

"My process changes depending on what vehicle I’m making them for," Wonder continued. "There’s been a lot of research and development, time in junk yards pulling housings and lenses to use as patterns and do test fitting.

"Some of the models I’ve done have bulb housings and lenses that are all one piece. For those I order a set of the taillights and separate the lenses from the housings then create the lenses, a gasket to go in between, and ship the client out a whole new set. But for most of them, it’s just creating the glass based on the client's idea, test fitting them on a housing I have in my studio, and often making a gasket to go with them."

Lindsey Wonder

Wonder has made taillights with traditional hot-rodding motifs including intricate pin-ups, cobwebs, skeleton hands—you catch my drift. She's also done quite a bit of musically influenced stained glass work like the ones pictured here with the guitar. My favorite might be the Grateful Dead logo, not because I'm a huge Dead Head but because it just looks so dang cool. I'm a big fan of the contrasting colors, which is also one of the best parts about the scorpion on sand with the sun in the background.

The next step is creating a cool, bespoke set of taillights for Wonder's own Chevy Luv project pickup. "I’m going to have a friend help me take the bed corners from a  Ford pickup and graft them into the bed of the Luv so that I can use the flat light housings from the Ford," Wonder concluded. "The tail lights on the Luv wrap around the edge of the bed and don’t mount flat, but I’m finding ways around it!"

I'll scroll past widebody drift builds all day long, but one of these pops up on my feed? C'mon. The only thing better is checking them out in person like they're meant to be enjoyed.

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