We’ve all walked into a nightclub and seen the big guy in the corner with a suit keeping an eye on things. For the most part, he looks like a professional who is minding his own business, but when the stuff goes down, that dude becomes a wrecking machine. Keep that in mind as we learn more about this 1970 Chevelle owned by Californian Shaun Hewitt. Shaun’s the owner of Hewitt High Performance and one of the absolute go-to guys in the Bay area for LS engine builds, swaps, and complete car projects. This Chevelle is his calling card, and it is his way to throw a few haymakers like that bouncer in the corner. See, there’s really two Shauns, and you’re really looking at two Chevelles.
There’s Shaun one, who is the business owner, dedicated mechanic, and walking encyclopedia regarding the LS family of engines and how to wring stupid power out of them. There’s Chevelle one with the beautiful paint, 20-inch hoops, big brakes, and super clean interior. Then there’s Shaun two. That’s the guy known as SS Shaun on YouTube shown dominating late-night street races in the same Chevelle that you just mistook for a show car. Both this car and Shaun’s business have been part of a long-term success story, the kind of which we love to hear.
It started for Shaun when he was 16 years old, when he got his mitts on a ’99 Camaro SS with an LS1 engine. Shaun loved the car and almost immediately started messing with the engine. In high school he took an automotive class and became voraciously interested in engines and engine building. Now with a plan to become part of the high-performance community, he attended WyoTech and completed his course work as quickly as possible. While schooling was nice for Shaun, he doesn’t lay his current success all on the fact that he has a piece of paper that signifies his completion of the program. “School was good, but it isn’t what had made me successful at what I am doing,” Shaun says. “I have worked very hard and been very dedicated to being the best at what I do. I am a perfectionist, and it kind of shows with the Chevelle.” Kind of shows? It may as well be a neon billboard for the type of work that Shaun turns out at his HPP shop.
But like the Chevelle, Shaun’s shop didn’t just spring forth from the ground as an operating business. He had to build it. “After I got out of school, I spent time working in three different shops that were all very heavy into working on and modifying cars like Corvettes. That’s where I think I really mastered the LS engine platform and learned what combos work to make great power,” Shaun says. Looking around and deciding that he could start his own business in the performance marketplace, Shaun struck out on his own and started in the most unlikely manner, working from the trunk of his own car. “I was wrenching and building cars out of my trunk,” he said with a laugh. “It was the way that I could afford to do it, and soon my customer base started growing. It wasn’t long before I was building cars in the garage at my townhome. That was a two-deep, one-wide garage, so the working conditions were tough!”
While all this was going on, Shaun was tinkering and building his ’99 Camaro into a low 10-second performer on the quarter-mile with a ProCharger and a host of other components that eventually raised the ire of the California smog police. The car was rendered useless. It didn’t comply with the draconian smog laws of the state and had to be parked. Shaun then realized that the best way for him to go was to find an older, smog-exempt car to work up.
That car showed up in the form of the ’70 Chevelle you see on these pages. At the time, the yellow car was nothing much to look at, but being rust free and solid, it served as the perfect easel for Shaun to paint his masterpiece on. “I swapped a pretty much stock LS2 and six-speed manual combo into that car shortly after getting it and did it all out of the trunk of my other car at the time. I didn’t have much money so for the first year I drove it around in granny yellow with dents and dings and even the original drum brakes!” The big C5 Corvette and fourth-generation Camaro disc combo that stop the car now are far more suited to the task than those old drums, but Shaun made it through.
After a year of the primer, we rented a booth across the street from my shop and shot the paint on it that you see now.
The car served as his daily driver while he built his client base and business. “When I was working out of my townhome garage, there was always one spot for a customer car and one spot for the Chevelle,” Shaun says. “I had a guy strip the car to metal and get the body right. I watched him hammer and dolly the metal back to where it was supposed to be, cut and replace steel that needed to be done, and then he shot the car in satin black primer. I didn’t have the money for the paintjob you see on the car now at that point, but the primer was a great step in the right direction. After a year of the primer, we rented a booth across the street from my shop and shot the paint on it that you see now.”
As we’ve already alluded to, Shaun is known as SS Shaun on YouTube and he’s known for demolishing opponents on the street with this car. The 370ci LS mill with fully forged internals came into the car as the result of the LS2 motor barfing up rods and punching a hole in its block during some, uh … high-speed testing on a closed course. Yeah, that’s it.
The fond memories of his ProCharged ’99 Camaro led him right back down the same path. This time though, he went for a manlier unit. This engine is boosted by a mighty D1SC ProCharger and Shaun claims that the car makes 689 hp at 6,500 rpm. Maybe it’s just us, but we’re thinking that Shaun is holding some cards close to the vest. Nearly 700 hp at the wheels is nothing to shake a stick at, but watch this car do its job on the Internet and you’ll agree that there’s some major league oomph on tap here. All of that grunt is fed through a T56 six-speed that was pulled from a late-model Pontiac GTO. We feel bad for the transmission living behind all that power and worse yet, Shaun’s right foot!
Shaun also wanted the car to be more multidimensional than his Camaro was, so instead of just bolting a bunch of drag race suspension parts under the Chevelle, he considered cornering as well. QA1 adjustable shocks live up front and there are QA1s in the rear as well. Big healthy sway bars from Addco up front and Hellwig out back are holding things level while cornering; a quick-ratio Saginaw steering box aids Shaun as he throws the Chevy into the corners, and 245/40R20 BFGs handle the turning end of things while amazingly hard-hooking Mickey Thompson 305/35R20 drag radials get things moving in a hurry.
Oh, and before you get all snooty on us and ask snarky questions about how much this car actually gets used and how streetable it is, understand that on the day of the photo shoot, Shaun drove this car 366 miles each way from his shop in Hayward to our palatial photo studio in El Segundo. It isn’t just a pretty face that can hook on the street and out-run you for a quarter-mile. This is a very well working, great looking, serious piece of iron that Shaun built with his own two hands.
If you see this Chevelle rolling around looking for someone to choose off with, treat it like you would a big, burly bouncer. Give it a wide berth, a healthy dose of respect, and no lip. Why? Failing to follow those rules may result in YouTube video of you being pummeled and thrown out onto the proverbial sidewalk!
This Chevelle is his calling card, and it is his way to throw a few haymakers like the bouncer in the corner…
By The Numbers
1970 Chevy Chevelle
Shaun Hewitt • Hayward, California
Type: 370ci GM LS2-based V-8
Block: ’04 Chevrolet cast-iron
Bore x stroke: 4.03 x 3.60 inches
Rotating assembly: factory LS2 crank, Eagle 6.125-inch rods, and Wiseco forged pistons with steel top ring
Compression ratio: 10.0:1
Cylinder heads: stock GM LS2, casting No. 243, unmodified
Camshaft: COMP Cams solid roller, .609/.613-inch lift, 236/242 degrees duration at .050-inch lift, 114-degree LSA
Valvetrain: stock valves, COMP Cams 7.4-inch chrome-moly pushrods, Patriot Gold valvesprings, SLP double-roller timing chain
Induction: ProCharger D1SC feeding an Edelbrock Pro Flo XT intake manifold, K&N air cleaner
Exhaust: Edelbrock stepped 1 ¾- to 17/8-inch headers into a 3-inch X-pipe, 3-inch tubing to the back
Ignition: stock GM coil-on-plug
Cooling: three-core aluminum radiator with 4,000-cfm cooling fans
Other: Autocraft oil pan
Output: 689 hp at 6,500 rpm and 606 lb-ft of torque at 5,500 rpm (rear wheel)
Engine built by: Shaun Hewitt
Transmission: T56 six-speed manual with Monster Stage 3 hydraulic clutch, Pro 5.0 shifter
Rearend: GM 12-bolt with 3.73 gears and Detroit Truetrac differential
Frame: stock frame
Front suspension: tubular upper and lower control arms (unknown brand), QA1 adjustable coilover shocks, QA1 400-pound springs, Addco sway bar
Rear suspension: swap meet springs of unknown rate, Hellwig Pro Tour sway bar, QA1 12-way adjustable shocks, Pure Muscle adjustable upper and lower control arms
Steering: stock components with GM/Saginaw quick-ratio steering box
Brakes: C5 Corvette 13-inch discs (front), factory 2002 Camaro discs (rear)
WHEELS & TIRES
Wheels: Niche, 20x8.5 (front), 20x10.5 (rear)
Tires: 245/40R20 BFG (front), 305/35R20 Mickey Thompson drag radial (rear)