Who is Shawn Ellington?

Shawn “Murder Nova” Ellington is an American reality TV star, born on 15th November 1977 in Merced, California, USA. Having shot to fame thanks to his appearances as a main cast member of the Discovery Channel car racing series “Street Outlaws”, he is now a millionaire in his own right, and boasts hundreds of thousands of dedicated fans.

At the tender age of five, Shawn and his parents relocated permanently to Sayre, Oklahoma. As is often the case, Shawn’s interest in cars was sparked by his father Richard’s job as an auto body shop owner. Working alongside his father, Shawn learned all the basic tricks of the trade which would serve him well in later years.

Early Career

In 2005, Shawn made the seemingly innocuous decision to travel to Oklahoma City and purchase a vehicle. Unbeknownst to the future celebrity, that car would become the “Murder Nova”, his trademark auto.

Shawn’s decades-long interest in modifying cars to make them faster came in handy, as the “Murder Nova” has seen several upgrades over the years.

Having many interesting characteristics which set it apart from the rest, the “Murder Nova” is a 1969 Chevy Nova equipped with a Chevy Proline engine, two Turbo Chargers, a fuel-injected carburetor, and GM 210 Turbo 400 transmission. Made from titanium and carbon fibers, the “Murder Nova” body is a surprisingly lightweight despite all its extras.

Despite having a whole range of project cars to work on, Shawn has admitted that the “Murder Nova” holds a special place in his heart, and is quoted as saying that “…there’s no greater adrenaline rush in the world than screaming down the street in the Murder Nova”.

In the late 2000s, Shawn teamed up with fellow car whizz Justin “Big Chief” Shearer to launch their podcast, “The Chief and Shawn Show”.

Thanks to gaining buzz from their entertaining podcast, they were invited to appear in “Street Outlaws”; apart from promoting their auto shop, Midwest Streetcars, the show also featured their car races and an occasional glimmer into their personal lives and relationships.

“Street Outlaws”

The popularity of “Street Outlaws” is largely thanks to its cast members: Shawn, Justin, David “Daddy Dave” Comstock, Sean Whitley, Kyle Kelley, Chuck Seitsinger, Joe Woods, and Jerry Johnston are all fan favorites, and just some of the street racers who have been part of the show over the years.

A veteran cast member, Shawn first appeared on the series in 2013 with his trusty “Murder Nova” and was crowned King of the Street after winning a number of races. Alongside fellow racers Da and Daddy Dave, Shawn was the undoubted star of the show over three years.

However, his meteoric rise to fame came with setbacks: in 28th September 2015, a group of unknown men attacked his and Justin’s shop, gunning down the establishment’s windows and front doors. Thankfully, the shop was already closed when the frightening incident occurred, and nobody was hurt. Although the culprits were never found, Shawn and Justin soon had their shop up and running once more.

Unsurprisingly, fans were thrilled and eager for more information, when Shawn announced his new and improved “Murder Nova” in 2016. The car was finally revealed in summer 2017, with Shawn insisting that it was safer than the older “Murder Nova” thanks to its robust construction, but just months later he was forced to pull out of the show when his vehicle began having problems.

Having skipped filming for the rest of 2018 so he could fix his car and rejoin the show in the following season, Shawn left fans heartbroken when he unceremoniously left “Street Outlaws” after a long hiatus.

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The news that he had “split” from Justin also came as a big shock, as viewers were used to seeing the two racers run their business together.

In a 2020 YouTube interview, Justin gave fans a much-needed insight regarding his unexpected professional split from Shawn, explaining that they went their separate ways only due to differing priorities. It seems that focusing on his family and new business venture – his shop “187 Customs” – left Shawn with little time for Midwest Streetcars. However, Justin reassured viewers that there is no bad blood between the two.

Personal Life

With over 650,000 and 3.3 million followers on Instagram and Facebook respectively, it’s little surprise that casual fans of Shawn are curious to know more about his love life. Diehard supporters are already familiar with his wife Erin, who goes by @mrs_murdernova on social media, but the truth is she remains an enigmatic figure to the general public.

Erin is her husband’s great supporter, as her Instagram biography reads: “Loving wife of the one and only Murder Nova aka Shawn”. It’s unknown when the blue-eyed beauty and the reality TV star met, but they tied the knot in 2005, and welcomed their son Aiden in February 2006.

As it to be expected, Erin and Shawn have many past-times in common. It appears that their strong family values and shared passion for cars have brought them closer than ever throughout the decades, as Erin’s Instagram feed is full of snaps of vintage vehicles as well as her husband’s latest projects. An avid animal lover and racing afficionado, Erin is also in charge of merchandise for “187 Customs”, and often promotes it on her profile.

Right now, Shawn is continuing the family legacy, and working on buying his son a coveted K5 car. Aiden himself loves working alongside his father in the auto shop, and even participating in racing events despite his young age, and appears set to eventually follow in Shawn’s footsteps.

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In May 2020, he even raced with his parents at Tulsa and Thunder Valley, earning a certificate of recognition for his efforts.

YouTube Channel

Since its creation in April 2020, the “187 Customs” YouTube channel has racked up over 26 million views and almost 200,000 subscribers. What started out as a part-time project has since become Shawn and his family’s main source of income, as the channel promises to “keep you up to date and in the know with what Murder Nova from Street Outlaws has going on behind the scenes!”.

Updating his fans on his latest restorations, races, and new projects, Shawn is a prolific YouTuber, and runs the channel with help from Erin. Their first video, “Murder Nova vs. Daddy Dave racing Opala’s in Brazil!!”, turned out to be a huge success, and laid the foundations for Shawn’s new career as a content creator.

To date, the most popular videos are “OG Murder Nova is Resurrected at Lutz Race Cars! The 540 IS ALIVE!!!” and “Shawn Found A Bucket List Car… Time For An Adventure To Go Pick It Up! Part 1”. The channel is a family affair, as Erin and Aiden make frequent appearances in videos, as well as some “Street Outlaws” cast members. Offering his fans the chance to see him in a more intimate light has clearly proven a successful decision, as Shawn’s channel is growing by the day, and shows no sign of stopping.

Where Is Shawn Now?

Despite not being a cast member, Shawn participated in the 2020 “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” racing event, which began on 31st July in Tucson, Arizona and ended in Ennis, Texas on 31st October of the same year.

The TV star’s Instagram profile shows that he’s been keeping himself busy with projects, and his store, and these days he’s also part of the popular “Street Outlaws” spin-off show, “America’s List”, which airs on Mondays.

The other two spin-offs, “After Hours” and “Gone Girl”, air on Tuesdays. In the new show, Shawn is a certified “race master”, and helps coach less experienced racers.

Although fans are thrilled to see Shawn back on TV, others have been complaining about Justin’s absence. One disgruntled social media user commented: “Seems like everyone forgets, Chief built street outlaws. If he didn’t start the list 15 years ago there would be nothing. Every show discovery has of street racing was from the original show”.

“America’s List” shows hopefuls from Memphis, Detroit, California, around Oklahoma and other states, competing for the coveted top spot in weekly street races, while “Gone Girl” is considered the least popular program, perhaps due to its lesser-known all-female cast. Although fans claim that none of the “Street Outlaws” spin-offs have the same charm as the original, “America’s List” boasts moderately high viewing figures and has been on air since 2021.

Hey Y'all! Today is Shawn aka Murder Novas Birthday! Take a min and wish my Best Friend and husband, a very special birthday! Thanks so much! ~Erin Ellington 🙂

Posted by Murder Nova on Friday, November 14, 2014

Other Cast Members

Although Shawn has built a reputation for himself as one of America’s best street racers, fans are also curious to know what the other “Street Outlaws” cast members are up to lately.

Justin, a self-confessed professional street race enthusiast, and the show’s most familiar face, is running his own YouTube channel, and posts frequent videos alongside his long-time girlfriend Jackie. With 257,000 subscribers and almost 900,000 Instagram followers as of March 2022, things are going well for “Big Chief”, despite his absence from the latest season of “America’s List”.

Daddy Dave’s YouTube channel is also thriving, as proven by the hundreds of thousands of views his videos accumulate on a weekly basis.

The “Street Outlaws” sensation is still very much active in the racing scene and recently brought out his new and improved vehicle, the Nova Goliath 2.0, to a race in Kansas in an attempt to win the coveted $40,000 prize.

To keep things fresh, the “Street Outlaws” franchise has added a plethora of new or lesser-known faces, with one of them being Damon Merchant. Described as a rising star in the world of street racing, Damon and his 1968 Camaro have stunned viewers so far, and it turns out that the Oklahoma native is no stranger to the sport.

“We did a lot of mud drag races growing up,” Damon shared in an interview. He was introduced to the drag racing world at the age of 16 by a local friend, and began participating in races at Thunder Valley. With over two decades of experience under his belt, Damon has since won races at Street Car Takeover, the Flashlight Shootout, and the Park After Dark event in Texas, which was when he was noticed by Justin.

“Once we started making a scene at some of the no preps, we got a call from Big Chief,” Justin explained. “I wanted to race a few people on it [the list], but I didn’t want to be that guy knocking on the door all the time. I’m not that kind of person. They called me, and gave us a shot.”

“Gone Girl”

As for the ladies of “Street Outlaws: Gone Girl”, Armani Johnson, Lizzy Mussi, Sarah Roach and Courtney Anton have finally been thrust into the spotlight after years of hard work to become the world’s fastest women racers. So far, Armani seems to be the most popular racer despite being a newbie, and has said of the experience: “Being on this team with only women feels empowering. It’s like the ultimate villains are coming out, racing, beating guys’ ass”.

On the other hand, Lizzy and the other cast members all grew up in close proximity to the drag racing world, and were introduced to the sport thanks to friends or family. Described as the “perfect role model” for young girls hoping to join the scene, Lizzy participated in her first junior drag race at just 16 years old, and has been going strongly ever since, breaking records and making a name for herself.

Sarah, known for being Larry Roach’s wife, is a certified Crossfit trainer and another car fanatic who decided to make her love for racing into a full-time career, while Courtney juggles filming for the show with motherhood, and running a successful auto shop.

Despite not being A-list celebrities, one thing’s for certain: for many cast members of “Street Outlaws”, appearing in the popular franchise is just the beginning of a long and fruitful career with boundless opportunities, be it sponsorship deals, or merchandise lines.

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