Pimp My Ride was the show that celebrated everything wrong with early 2000s car culture and it spawned a thousand memes along the way. The key takeaway from Pimp My Ride and West Coast Customs was that anything, no matter how ridiculous, can be installed into a car. From hot tubs, badminton courts, grand pianos and aquariums, Pimp My Ride always found a way to turn the ridiculous into the doable.
For a while, at least, the series seemed to be a success. But as it went on, the cracks started to expose Pimp My Ride for what it really was: a combination of ridiculous cosmetic modifications and near useless gadgets. Some of the installations were even illegal and had to be removed, like the exhaust pipe flamethrower fitted to a Ford Mustang.
Generally, though, the gadgets were ridiculous but harmless—like the robotic arm whose only job was to play a percussive triangle out of time like on Seth's Nissan Maxima, which also had a cotton candy machine installed in the trunk.
As the series went on, Pimp My Ride addressed some of the criticisms leveled at it. They started to replace motors that were shot and they repaired transmissions that didn’t work. During the final two seasons, West Coast Customs split from the show and, instead, Galpin Auto Sports took over, signaling a much more sensible approach to the rebuilds.
However, today we are celebrating the absurdity of the series, so here are the 15 most ridiculous transformations seen on the show.
15 Shawna's Toyota Celica
This 1990 Toyota Celica was a mess even before Pimp My Ride got to it. Purchased for $600, the Celica's highlights included a red hood, faded blue body panels, a white spoiler, a missing rear bumper, and one missing headlight. Shawna was a nursing assistant and all she wanted was a dependable car. To achieve this, the WCC crew fitted the worst car trend ever—130-degree Lambo doors—one of the ugliest body-kits ever installed on a Celica, blocky pinstriped graphics, a motorized mobile phone holder in the center console, and a laptop in the trunk with a two-terabyte hard drive. Of course, none of these did anything to improve the car's reliability and they just transformed the Celica into a more modern-looking eyesore.
14 Ellyn's Ford Contour
Ellyn treated her car like a four-wheel-drive Jeep and took it off-roading regularly. She said it was holding up well, until a bear decided to do what bears do best, by getting inside and completely tearing it apart. After Xzibit ripped on the Contour and broke off the driver's mirror while driving to the GAS garage, the crew got to work on some pretty ridiculous ideas and terrible bear related puns. Aside from the awful graphics, they installed a motorized hammock in the trunk (perfect for when you’re camping in bear country) and salmon skin seats. But the most ridiculous mod was the Salmon Cannon 3000, an air cannon that shot salmon oil at approaching bears in the hope the scent would distract them.
13 Lawanna's Volkswagen Bug
Lawanna's Volkswagen was ready for the scrap heap. The axles were bent, every panel was completely rusted, and it had some serious accident damage to the front quarter panels. Lawanna was a hair stylist who was preparing for a new career in the Air Force, so after Xhibit spent several minutes cracking jokes, WCC set about installing as many ridiculous gadgets as they could. The crew butchered both Porsche and Ferrari body-kits to hide the shape of the Volkswagen, then repainted the car bright yellow and royal blue. Mad Mike installed a multi-function flight display found in planes which, of course, was completely useless for a car. Finally, they installed a hair dryer which drew air in through a massive roof scoop.
12 Eric's Mitsubishi Eclipse
The Mitsubishi Eclipse was a fairly bland attempt at a sports coupe that looked ok with the right modifications. So, where did things go so wrong? Well, as with most cars featured on the show, the Eclipse was missing quite a few parts and looked like garbage. The windows didn’t roll down or up, the sunroof wouldn’t close, the heater was stuck on hot, and none of the doors opened. As usual, WCC didn’t address most of the things that needed fixing but they did fit seat coolers and an energy drink dispenser. However, the most ridiculous part of this build was the half-and-half paint job that split down the middle so one side was tangerine candy red and the other side was candy blue.
11 Robert's Chevrolet Van
In this episode of Pimp My Ride, WCC owner Beau was caught in a surprising display of self-awareness, and all of the mods they installed to this 1974 Chevrolet van were just flat-out ridiculous. Mad Mike installed a slot machine on the sliding door, making it only open once the lever was pulled and a jackpot was achieved. The pointlessness continued on the inside with the installation of a baby grand piano that had a roulette wheel installed inside of its open top. But perhaps the most pointless gadget was the installation of a fake exhaust pipe that violently shot out playing cards from the side of the vehicle.
10 Justin's Toyota RAV4
When Justin and his mess of a RAV4 made an appearance on Pimp My Ride, you really had to feel sorry for him. Not only was his car a write-off but he lamented that he was having no success with his love life either. As with every car on the show, the WCC crew ignored the glaring mechanical issues and focused on gadgets that they guaranteed would make Justin a hit with the ladies. This included a pop-up plastic rose dispenser, LED candles behind the rear seats where nobody could see them, a hidden compartment for a champagne bottle and glasses (which isn't entirely appropriate when you’re driving), and a chocolate fondue fountain in the trunk.
9 Jessica's AMC Pacer
The AMC Pacer from Season 4 is one of the most referenced cars in the entire series. It was an unusual car and was in pretty bad shape to begin with but somehow, West Coast Customs managed to make it even worse. The five-spoke, JDM-style wheels looked shockingly out of place on the miniature car. Buck was in charge of paint on this job and gave it one of the worst paint jobs imaginable: sunfire yellow that faded to cinnamon, and silver shooting stars painted down the sides. It’s hard to know why anyone thought this would look good. The inside was coated with green shag carpet and a fruit juicer was installed in the trunk.
8 Rashae's Ford Taurus
Xzibit described Rashae's Taurus as a dented up relic of the past. Rashae's dream was to become a stuntwoman and it looked like she had started practicing her stunts in her own car. She stated that she started every day chanting “I hope my car doesn’t break down." To start with, WCC went to their default mod for junkyard cars: Lambo doors. They also modified the rear doors so they popped straight out instead of opening on a hinge, making them useless in pretty much every situation. Big Dane installed a mood affirmation machine which came out with eight different compliments and Ish installed a motorized stunt bag that popped out of the trunk. As usual, nothing was done that actually improved the car's running condition.
7 Esmerelda's Pontiac Sunbird
It’s hard to imagine that this Pontiac Sunbird would ever look good. The exterior was trashed, with parts falling off, the roof was torn up, and Esmerelda had spray painted her rear window black. Esmerelda stated that she loved going to the beach, so WCC transformed this heap into a Tiki Truck, which encapsulated everything wrong with the late-90s and early-2000s car culture. The paint and graphics were just awful, being bright yellow with brown tribal graphics and a giant clipart style picture of a Tiki god on the hood. The Sunbird also had a snow-cone machine in the truck, a fog machine, and a wolf whistle that played externally.
6 Vanessa's Ford Festiva
Ford Festivas are known for being tiny, light, unpowered cars that don’t go up hills or overtake anything short of a child's wagon. With that in mind, some of the modifications that West Coast Customs did to this Festiva are baffling. They decided to make the car slower and heavier by installing a body-kit, a non-functioning hood scoop, and a huge spoiler. They ruined the handling by installing lowering springs and without making any other mechanical changes, hooked up a nitrous kit. The crew dyno-tested the car after the installation but didn’t give out the figure, claiming a 50% power increase. We know, however, that the stock 1991 Festiva puts out 63 horsepower, so we can estimate the final figure was somewhere around 94 horsepower with dangerous nitrous in the trunk.
5 Tin's Dodge Caravan
Tin was pretty representative of how we all were as teenagers: awkward, a bit nerdy, and always saying the wrong thing, such as telling Xhibit he was about to “bust a rap on this nut." Tin was studying chemistry and like most students, had absolutely no money to spend on his car. Upon first seeing the Caravan, WCC admitted they had no idea what they were going to do with this one—and it showed. For some reason, Big Dane installed two waterfalls in the back of the van. Ish, who usually has some solid ideas, installed a fold-out badminton net and shuttlecock launcher. Mad Mike also installed a 17-inch monitor and connected a USB microscope to it.
4 Josh's Toyota Corolla
Aspiring musician Josh and his Toyota Corolla would have to get the award for the car that should have been taken off the road immediately. Every panel was completely trashed, windows were missing, mirrors were broken, and the reverse gear didn’t work. Xzibit quipped that the car possibly belonged to a drunk Stevie Wonder. After Josh got his car back from WCC, he immediately got into another fender bender but not before they painted it two-tone red and silver for that racing look. For some reason, they installed four exterior monitors on the body panels and seats that played a musical note when sat on.
3 Nate's Ford Econoline
Nate was in a band and the group used his Econoline van to transport equipment to gigs and also when they toured. So, they needed something reliable and roomy. In true West Coast Customs style, they completely ignored all that and set about making the van as ridiculous as possible. To accomplish this, they fitted a hot tub inside the Econoline but also had to install air suspension in the rear because the water added so much extra weight. Behind the hot tub, Ish transformed the space into a luxury lounge with a wrap-around couch and staircase. The band fizzled out in 2005 and the fate of Nate's Econoline is unknown.
2 Kiearah's Ford Escort
The 1991 Ford Escort was a bit of an eyesore even when it was new but it was a fun car to beat on or use as a daily driver. It doesn’t take much to turn it into a decent car. Kiearah, though, claimed her car didn’t fit her and had no style to it. She just wanted some ‘bling bling’ in her life. Instead of turning the Escort into something decent, they did a BMW E36 front end conversion, Mercedes rear lights, and installed a peanut butter colored interior. When the work was done, they only showed brief shots of the front end so nobody would notice the headlights didn’t line up properly. Kiearah's car was no longer an Escort but a butchered Escort.
1 Quoc-Viet's Nissan 240SX
This episode with a Nissan 240SX is really a lesson in what not to do to a car from Japan. Now, it’s not difficult to turn the 240SX into something fun: an RB engine swap, some coilovers, boost controller, and wheels are really all that need doing. But the concept behind this episode was to recreate the 240SX in Need for Speed in real life, ignoring that the car in Need for Speed looked awful. WCC blasted the 240SX with a vomit-inducing green and overlaid some awful-looking clipart-style graphics on top. The body-kit looked horrible, the interior was slime green, and inexplicably, they painted the spoiler red. The whole episode was exhausting to watch with too many cringeworthy moments.
Sources: MTV.com.au, wikipedia.org, imdb.com, xhibitcentral.com