We all know that reality shows aren't "real," but MTV's classic Pimp My Ride just got exposed as being extra-fake. The show, which aired from 2004 to 2007, featured a simple premise: some poor-ass buster in southern California got his car, truck or other vehicle customized by rapper Xzibit and the body shop at West Coast Customs. Banging stereo systems, rocking hydraulics and insane paint jobs were the order of the day, but this incredible feature at the Huffington Post reveals that most of the "pimped" cars were more suited for turning tricks.
Three owners talked with HuffPo and they all have pretty much the same stories: after filming, the producers would "take back" some of the more outrageous features, and the stuff they left behind didn't work all that well. For Justin Dearinger, who had his 1997 Toyota Rav 4 tricked out with a pop-up champagne caddy and a drive-in theater, both of those were taken out before the film crew left. Seth Martino's '99 Nissan Maxima got a transforming stereo system complete with a robot arm, but the "robot" was actually remote-controlled by a production crew member and had a bunch of loose wires hanging out, and the cotton candy machine in the trunk didn't have a dome, so strings of sticky sugar got all over the place.
The show's producer claims that those modifications were made for "safety reasons," but that just begs the question as to why they'd install them in the first place? We already know the answer, though: because it looked good on TV. MTV's audience didn't want to watch mechanics put in more horsepower – they wanted plasma screens and goofy gadgets, and that's what they got.
In addition, producers often messed with cars beforehand, making them look even junkier so the remodel would be more impressive. Martino was shocked when producers filled his car with candy to make him look like a gluttonous slob. He says, "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." Jake Glazier, who got his ratchet '86 Buick Century pimped out with a 22 inch subwoofer and turntable in the glove box, was told by producers to break up with his girlfriend for the show to make a better story.
When you watch the show, it looks like the garage is jamming through the pimping process in just a few days, but the reality was worse. Some cars stayed in the show's custody for as long as six months while work was being done, with their owners forced to drive rentals. MTV only paid for a few months of those rentals, forcing the poor schlubs to hold on to receipts in hopes of eventually being reimbursed.
Even worse, most of the cars didn't get any under the hood improvements to make them handle better. The excess weight added by all the pimped-out gadgets made the cars run even worse. Martino's Maxima dragged on the ground and needed an engine replacement just a month after the show wrapped, and Dearinger's car eventually burst into flames while he was driving it.
Glazier sums it up by saying, "The problem with the show is, they don't fix any of the mechanical issues, and my car was a piece of shit. What they did was make my piece of shit sound exceptionally awesome, which is great. Just not great enough to drive on roads."
In addition, if you want to sell off your "pimped" ride, the show's contract stipulates that you can't mention it was on Pimp My Ride in the ads and you can't put it on auction sites like eBay.
Glazier, however, managed to eventually come out on top by selling his Maxima two months later to the audio company that provided his massive subwoofer system for $18,000. Considering that he bought the thing for $500, that's a pretty healthy profit.
And, of course, hanging out with Xzibit was pretty cool. The host reportedly smelled pretty strongly of dank cheeba, ate a lot of Flaming Hot Cheetos, and told Glazier that he was "going to go down to hell to kill the devil so he can make some Satan skin boots." That's dope.
If you were ever jealous that Xzibit and crew never showed up to your door to polish up your hoopty, now you can sleep a little easier knowing that the people who got pimped-out rides didn't get to keep them on the streets for long…. duh