It sounded like a dream to get a makeover for your car, especially when there was a personal or financial situation in your life making you feel like the very dumps. Obviously, Pimp My Ride seemed like a dream, and we all wanted to be on it to turn our cars fancy–be it with a robotic arm, a candy dispenser, a hot tub, or even a pool table… and, in doing so, turn ourselves a little rich and famous, too.
We envied all those excited squeals and manly jaw-drops when those swanked-up rides rolled in for the final reveal. The dudes and dudettes looked so happy with their dream cars—shiny glistening paint, some really cool and often unheard-of upgrades, and freshly upholstered interiors to match… Car owners can dream, which is what we did when we saw so many happy success stories emerge from the show. The only catch being a lot of it wasn't true and was basically a big TV fail. Much was faked and fit-bitted, and like the pimped-out cars, other details were also pimped up because the truth can sometimes be so boring. And Pimp My Ride was anything but boring, right? But that’s the thing about TV shows—viewers often got taken away by the clever editing, the heart-touching background stories, and the eventual grins and happy tears that followed when the owners got their swanky rides. But the stories that went behind the scenes were a lot different. And if you too were swept away by the glamor of it all, here’s a reality check for you: 20 things about Pimp My Ride every 2000s kid forgets….
20 Many Of The "Auditions" Were Fake
So, in an article on Huffington Post, some of the contestants admitted that they had already been pre-informed of the show’s decision to include them in an episode. While we're not saying that all the “auditions” were fake, many of them certainly were. According to Huffington Post, Brooke Siegel, a contestant who had her Chevy Cavalier pimped, ended up meeting the producers of Pimp My Ride through a mutual friend. So basically, if you knew someone who was someone in the show, cast, or crew, you could easily land a gig and have your car done up for free while you got a taste of a little fame on the side. So, Brooke got the gig, but the producers made her “act” in a scene, begging to have her car pimped as part of a cosmetic, fake audition. Obviously, she must've jumped at the chance of being on TV, and being on an MTV reality show was decent shakes, to begin with. Plus she also got her Chevy Cavalier bettered, so to speak, enough to make it a recognizable ride on the road. Who doesn’t like a little fame and fortune even if the people who came on the show didn’t earn anything from it?
19 Xzibit Was Sweet, But He Smelled All Wrong
No, we're not talking about last night’s garlic pasta or unbearable BO. Since we were never on the set (sigh), we don’t know what Xzibit smelled like, actually. According to a Reddit thread, though, people who were on the show recall that he actually smelled of weed. Of course, considering his song ‘Alkaholic’ has the lyrics “can you smell weed?” we shouldn’t be all that surprised. As a huge advocate of marijuana, Xzibit has been known to be in the business and even met his fans on a marijuana holiday just four days back on April 20, 2018–aka marijuana holiday 420! And yes, he still has fans–both of his music and of his contributions to Pimp My Ride. He may have been old news sometime in between, but he's back with a bang. The man got arrested at the Guam airport for weed possession and even got pulled in for a DUI at his wedding eve whilst he was driving home to get to his wife! Talk about being on a high in the worst circumstances possible! But clearly, the man loves his weed and also has his foot dipped into the legal spectrum of this business.
18 The More Insane Upgrades Were Removed Due To Legal Restrictions
You know when your grandma used to tell you that if it sounds too good to be true, it's probably because it is? Well, it’s the same with Pimp My Ride, too! Some of the “upgrades” were plain wacky, like this one guy who got a “sealed fish tank” in the back seat of his car with a little straw in it for feeding and oxygen. The sealing was to prevent any spillages while driving. While there was no safety restriction regarding this upgrade, it was a fail nonetheless because his two little pets died when he parked the car, and the water basically boiled the fish into soup. Hmm... Why a fish tank in a car is considered an upgrade still escapes us. But there were some other issues with the upgrades as well because they were considered unsafe for the road or simply illegal.
Larry Hochberg told Huffington Post that many times, upgrades were removed because of a specific purpose, which the kids on the show interpreted as “the show taking away some items."
Well, Larry, if it looks like a spade…. He continued, “One time, we took out 24-inch spinner rims on a 1977 Cutlass that would look amazing for television but were switched to beautiful 20s for daily driving."
17 ...Like The Champagne-Pop Contraption That Basically Promoted Drunk Driving
Again, why would you put something in a car that cannot legally, morally, or even logically allow to be driven in the streets? You shouldn’t, right? But at Pimp My Ride, they did. Justine Dearinger gave them his Toyota RAV4, and they put in a champagne-popping contraption in it, you know, for the time you really want to celebrate whilst you get your motor runnin', head out on the highway, looking for adventure in whatever comes our way… After the show was concluded and Dearinger was possibly salivating at the adventures he could've with his champagne-serving car, MTV realized that they didn't want to condone drinking and driving. So, they removed the super cool pop-up champagne contraption. And Dearinger could only come up with a “they actually take out a lot of the stuff that they showed on TV" because, if he said more, it would mean that he liked to drink and drive. Considering his car did go up in flames after about a year of it being pimped and after he had put in some 20k in his car, maybe he put the darn thing back because he just wanted it to do bad. Seriously, Pimp My Ride... so what if it goes down in flames?!
16 Many Of The Super Tech Upgrades Were Fake Or Faulty
Seth Martino, a contestant on Pimp My Ride, had LED lights, a cotton candy machine, and a robotic arm added to his car. Please don’t ask us why! Why would you want a cotton candy machine in your car? Well, apparently, Martino didn’t want it. But I’m guessing West Coast Customs really did want to put in a cotton candy machine into someone’s car, and so they did–if only to boast about it later. Martino declares in his AMA Reddit thread that some of the show's upgrades were totally faulty. Those awesome LED lights installed on the seats that made your behind look great would often get dangerously hot, enough to singe and burn the seat as well as the seated! Oh, and the funny guys at West Coast put in the cotton candy machine but apparently forgot the lid, so yes, that was a pretty faulty thing, too.
Martino told Huffington Post that if you used the machine, it shot cotton candy all over the place—or rather all over the car, which was a good idea - said no one ever.
And that fab robotic arm that everyone went slack-jawed over was a total bust, too. Martino said it was "controlled by commands that were entered into a laptop by the spiky-haired guy off screen.” Since that dude wasn't part of the upgrade, the robotic arm was a sham. So off with the arm; it went post the show.
15 One Contestant Claimed To Have Been Fat-Shamed
In Seth Martino's Reddit AMA, he said, "I know I’m fat, but they went the extra mile to make me look extra fat by telling the world that I kept candy all over my seat and floor just in case I got hungry. Then they gave me a cotton candy machine in my trunk." Basically, this is simply another way of MTV overhyping everything in the show without bothering to be polite or politically correct. In fact, to make Martino look like a slob, MTV took two bags of candy and dumped it all over the insides of his car to further create shock value. To Huffington Post, Martin reiterated, "I did not have any candy all over my car. That was completely fabricated for the story." So, why did Martino not take a stand? Why did he not stop the crew in their tracks and blast them out for basically trying to make him into something he wasn’t? "At the time, I didn't question anything because it was an exciting experience, and I just kind of went with the flow," Martino said. "I know it is kind of mean, but I think they just wanted to put a cotton candy machine in a car and used the fat guy as the opportunity to do it."
14 The Pre-Pimp Sob Stories Were Pimped, Too
So usually, the guest on the show had to have a major reason for wanting to get their car pimped–like they lost a job or broke up and always had a dream about a dream car. Most of it was scripted. Goes to show that reality TV is never actually real! A lot of it is made up, primped up, and basically as fake as the rides themselves, though we'll talk about that later. So, the same contestant, Brooke Siegel, who had to “beg to get her ride pimped” though she had already been pre-selected, was also given a fake backstory. Why? Well, in reality, she was a 25-year-old cocktail waitress who was planning to return to her hometown, but since that seemed too boring, MTV gave her a fake backstory, saying she was a 22-year-old pretending to be a film student trying to earn money for grad school.
As Consumerist reports, Siegel said, “They filmed my reaction to the car at least 10 times—before I’d ever even seen it. And when I did, holy hell, poor Betsy looked like Barbie’s Dream Car from hell. It was neon pink and turquoise and had a video projector and popcorn machine.”
So, Siegel parked it to collect value, not wanting to be seen in it dead or alive.
13 In Fact, Many Of The Homes Were Fake-O!
So, remember that MTV show Cribs? Remember Robbie Williams's house that wasn’t his house but Jane Seymour’s house? And he even rented butlers to cater to his whim on the show? Well, that was one big fat fake–of course, Robbie later apologized and filmed another episode in his own home. But it goes on to prove that a lot what you see on the so-called reality shows of MTV is cosmetic gobbledygook. We're back to Brooke Siegel where when Xzibit showed up at her “house” to tell her that she’d been chosen though she already knew for that matter–well, the house wasn't hers. In fact, according to News24, most of the houses that the contestants were shown in were rented out and sort of pimped up to look better. Contestants were told to wait in the house, and at the beginning of segments, Xzibit would be shown ringing the doorbell to a contestant’s house to surprise them. The contestant had been prepped to answer the door and look terribly excited about it all. In case the contestant wasn't chosen, it would be someone holding a gift certificate instead. But the houses were all a fake, much like the backstories.
12 After The Show Ended, Xzibit Did Go Broke
At the height of his career, Xzibit was able to make over $500,000 during his time as the host of the series! When the show ended, work wasn’t all that much, and Xzibit even went into debt. Used to a decent lifestyle, Xzibit twice tried to file for bankruptcy. This happened in July of 2009 and January of 2010, but his bankruptcy filings weren't granted. In 2007, he made a total of $497,175, but after the show had been axed, his 2008 earnings came to a pretty low $67,510. According to public records, as of late 2010, Xzibit owed more than $9 million in delinquent federal taxes. This could've been the end of Xzibit, and while we aren’t exactly privy to his financial dealings, he did make a comeback of sorts ever since he’s been on the minor hit TV series Empire where he plays Leslie 'Shine' Johnson, a former rival of the main protagonist Lucious Lyon (played by Terence Howard). In other words, he seems to be doing well for now. And that’s good to hear for all his and Pimp My Ride’s fans. Also, the funniest story is what Glazier told Huffington Post about Xzibit. Said he, "I don't remember why he brought it up, but we were just kind of talking about what we were doing that weekend, and he said he's going to go down to hell to kill the devil so he can make some Satan skin boots." What’s up, dawggg?!
11 The Magical Transformation Actually Took Months To Make
Pimp My Ride's upgrades ended up costing a lot for contestants, even though all the work on the cars was actually done free of cost. Why? Well, according to Daily Mail, the upgrades seemed like they just took days or a couple of week son the show–but that was just good editing. In real life, these so-called upgrades often took six to seven months, and contestants had to rent cars at their own expense if they wanted to get around. Some of the contestants were reimbursed for a few months, but mostly, the payments stopped coming, and they had to rent out on their own goodwill. Seth Martino, a contestant from season 6, told Huffington Post of the really haranguing time. He said he had to go through a "really small, shady company off the freeway by LAX." He continued, "Because they were the only ones willing to rent to me because of my age. But they wouldn't take payments over the phone, so once a month, I had to drive all the way from West Covina to LAX just for them to swipe my card. At first, MTV only paid for a couple months, and then, I had to pay out of my own pocket. I held on to the receipts, and then, about two years after the show aired, MTV reached out and finally reimbursed me.”
10 The Cars Looked Great, But The Mechanical Faults Remained
As Looper astutely points out, there's nothing glamorous about replacing an engine or fixing a taillight, so these major issues were often ignored in favor of the actual pimping. Many times, the crew failed to address the car's own mechanical issues in favor of putting in products and features that looked more glamorous and compelling.
Contestant Seth Martino spoke on Reddit about how after the show, he ended up spending $1,700 of his own money to pay for a new engine, something the crew could've easily done had they not been focused on pimping the car instead.
“There wasn't much done under the hood in regards to the actual mechanics of the vehicle," Seth Martino told Huffington Post. "For the most part, it needed a lot of work done to make it a functioning regular driver, which they did not do. They added a lot of extra weight but didn't adjust the suspension to compensate, so I felt like I was in a boat, and every time I hit a bump, the car would bottom out, and the tires would scrape inside the wheel well.” The car could run for only about a month, after which Martino had to put in a new engine.
9 Because Of This, MTV Had A Tow Truck On Call
If you're fixing junkers, the cars are bound to not start. However, MTV made sure the drivers would be able to get home. According to what co-producer Larry Hochberg told HuffPost, a flatbed tow truck was on call to assist contestants with cars that wouldn't start. Said Larry, “The people who had cars that appeared on the show would call me, and I would leave my desk, run to meet up with the flatbed tow truck, and go help them," he said. He also said that some of the cars were so old and had so many mechanical problems that they were bound to finally give up despite all the “fixing” that happened on the show. Sometimes, MTV would assist the owners of the cars that had been pimped on the show and get the cars back to West Coast Customs or the GAS shop in the later episodes. They did try to fix some of the more basic issues, but there's only so much fixing you could do for a vehicle clearly past its life. Mad Mike also tried to help out, but sometimes, all the helping wasn’t enough. Some contestant had to spend money to later fix the insides after their rides had been pimped from the outside.
8 The Contestants Became Mini-Celebs As Did Their Cars
Why did the contestants want to be on the show? Well, firstly, MTV was offering to fix up old junkers for absolutely free, and to have a car that looks like trash come out looking spanking new is a dream all car owners, especially those who have student loans, have! Plus, who minds getting some TV time, being on the show, hanging out with Xzibit, and feeling so special when they rolled in your pimped-out ride? Of course, the cars looked so darn different from the other vehicles on the street that many of the owners would often be pulled over by the cops. Some recognized the vehicles and wanted to cop a feel themselves—excuse the pun—while some were just plain flabbergasted by the ride. A contestant, Justin Dearinger, said in a Reddit AMA that he would get pulled over on a daily basis. “Every time, I would have to explain the show Pimp My Ride to the cops, and most of the time, they were really cool about it.” Of course, it’s a different matter that Dearinger got even more famous when his car went up in flames after he had put in another 20K worth of upgrades in it!
7 Before The Pimp, The Cars Were Desecrated On Purpose
If the car didn’t “look” bad enough to deserve a pimp, it was often turned messier by scratching out the paint, littering the insides, and basically making it look like the worst junker the town had. Basically, first came the fake audition where many of the contestants already knew they were on the show but still had to “act out” a scene in which they had to “convince” the producers that their car deserved to be pimped out. Then, MTV made up a sob story for them to make them look even more deserving–someone down on their luck would present a better story than someone who just wanted some free upgrades.
Then came the fake house where Xzibit would ring the bell, and the contestants opened the door of the house they didn't live in and had to pretend to be terribly excited and make a meme-worthy scene.
Then finally, to top it all, they had to make the car look deserving of a pimping as well–so very often, it would be desecrated further to make it look like a pitiable junker no respectable person should be seen alive or dead in. Basically, the sadder everything looked at the start, the shinier the pimped ride looked at the end…
6 Xzibit Was An Undercover Nice Guy
According to Cyber-Breeze, all ex-contestants were united in one thing about the experience they had on the series. And that was that the host Xzibit was actually a really cool guy! They all claimed that he, as a TV show host, was very nice, fun to hang out with, and easy to work with. He was nice to all the contestants, unlike many MTV hosts who basically lived to roast the people they had to work with. And while Xzibit may not have been a huge star at the time, he was a decent enough rapper and was growing in popularity.
Still, most contestants did agree that the success didn't really go to his head and that he remained sweet to all until the end.
Xzibit (pronounced like "exhibit") was already big on the West Coast rapping scene, and through his career did collaborate with plenty of rapping and music biggies like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Eminem, Timbaland, Limp Bizkit, and 50 Cent. When the show ended, though, he did take a bit of a personal and a professional dive, but all the contestants seem to remember him in a good and easy-to-get-along light. Even the producers talk of him fondly, considering he didn’t have any starry airs.
5 A Lot Of It Was Exaggerated To Promote TRPs
Jake Glazier, another contestant on Pimp My Ride, remembers that when he was chosen to be on the show, one of the producers encouraged him to break up with his girlfriend. Why? To create even more drama that, in turn, creates more TRPs! The contestants had to look deserving enough for the show to agree to pimp their rides. Now, if Glazier had a shoddy vehicle and a recent breakup, then he would need a pimped out ride to be able to get rid of his loneliness. Which girl could say no to a dude who looked like Rick Astley, had been on primetime TV, and owned a sweet, sweet ride that had also been on TV? It would be like dating two celebrities… So, even if Glazier didn't want to break up with his girlfriend, the producers wanted her gone and not be a part of the show. Of course, in the same vein, when Glazier off-handedly mentioned that his grandmother had smoked in the car, the crew hurriedly dumped dozens of cigarette butts in the car to make it look completely gross and in desperate need of a pimp! Glazier did get a decent pimp on his ride, but like all cars, it was mostly just for show.
4 All Contestants Had To Go Bonkers At The Final Reveal
So, when the Pimp My Ride final reveal happened, there were some memorable screams, gasps, and on-spot jumps by the contestants. Obviously, it's all very exciting. To have an old car restored shiny new for almost no cost is a wonderful premise of a dream. As Martino told Huffington Post, "I was very excited and naïve, so they could have told me unicorns were making me breakfast and I wouldn’t have questioned it.” With details emerging over the past few years over what was actually real and what wasn’t, it's clear that most of this show was a big fake. All contestants had to shoot multiple takes of their excitement because, well, they just didn't look excited enough. Dearinger told Huffington Post, “I guess I didn't show enough enthusiasm, so the director told me to be more energetic and jump around and scream.” The same happened with Jake Glazier who tended to go shell-shocked in excitement whilst the producers wanted more apeshit. "I remember this very clearly. Big Dane, very big dude, he like puts his arm around my shoulder, kind of walks me around the shop for like 10 minutes, and he's like, 'Listen, we put a lot of work into this, so we expect you to be a little more enthusiastic.’ So I went OTT!”
3 The Pimped-Out Rides Couldn't Be Sold On eBay
One strict rule for being on the show was that after it was all over, they couldn't sell the car on eBay. Jake Glazier learned this the hard way. This is what he told Jalopnik: “In 2005, MTV 'pimped' my 1986 Buick Century. It was the episode that featured the MTX Jackhammer 22-inch sub-woofer. Incredible sound system... I actually had to sign a contract that prohibited me from listing their final product on eBay, which I did. I was contacted by Viacom about 3 hours later—ordered to take it down. I then got the contact info of the company that made the Jackhammer woof and made a deal. The problem with the show is, they don't fix any of the mechanical issues, and my car was a piece of sh*t. What they did was make my piece of sh*t sound exceptionally awesome, which is great— just not great enough to drive on roads. So, I sold it to MTX (the company that manufactured all the 'pimping audio components' within). I originally purchased the car for 500 bucks. Sold it for 18k!” A neat profit that… We're sure that MTV didn't much care for Glazier’s tactics, but it did make him a cool $17.5K–not bad for a young man!
2 The Contestants' “Choices” Weren’t Taken Into Consideration
You’d think that when these contestants were chosen for Pimp My Ride, they would actually be listened to in great detail about what their idea of a dream car was. Well, no such luck. Otherwise, why else would there be upgrades in the likes of a cotton candy machine, a champagne-popper, a hot tub, a pool table, or a sealed fish tank? Dearinger, for instance, specifically mentioned that red wasn't an interior color of his choice. But when the pimped-out ride rolled in, the leather interiors were as red as red could be.
If it looked good, they did it—who cares what the actual car owner thought or felt about it...
MTV apparently didn't really listen to anyone or anybody, and neither did the West Coast Customs guys. If it looked good and it rolled, it rolled. Even Siegel’s white Chevy was turned into some sort of a nightmare Barbie that she was happier to park after a single ride and later on “gift” to her boyfriend so that he could sell it for her. Of course, Viacom wasn’t particularly happy with her, but then, she managed to sell her junker for some $7k, so who cares?
1 Contestants Would Happily Go Back On The Show
For a couple of years now, MTV and Pimp My Ride have been facing a ton of flak for all the fake reality they like to portray. While much of what went down was, well, as the show’s name went, pimped out to look good–many contestants still have fond memories. These contestants include even Dearinger, who put in another 20k in his car only to have it burst into flames with him and his girl getting a lucky escape.
“Before then, I was just a kid–I was shy; I was really shy. And then, it's sad to say, but being on the show gave me some confidence. And it made me the person I am today. I'm the most outgoing person you ever met. A lot of girls noticed me more. So, I had a good time indeed.”
Another contestant, Glazier, went on to say that he missed being on the show for years, and despite the fact that his car was never mechanically fixed, he had no real complaints about the show. Frankly, the show was a tad endearing to many, with people recognizing the pimped-out cars from afar–and recognizing the car owners as well. Even the producers of the show miss it. Do you?
Sources: HuffingtonPost.com, Jalopnik.com, Cyber-Breeze.com. News24.com. Reddit.com