On the surface, Pimp My Ride was a fun show that didn’t take itself too seriously. While Top Gear was airing at the same time across the pond and made more sense to gear heads, Pimp My Ride could appeal to viewers who didn't know a lot about cars. Many argue the crews behind the restorations didn’t know tons either.
Instead of transforming cars into something that’s fast n’ loud or a monster that Jesse James would've approved of, Pimp My Ride took a different approach. Instead, the show’s team added gimmicky modifications that didn’t improve the car’s performance or make it do something incredible, like fly. Really, the mods really just turned cars into pieces of entertainment, the likes you’d see on a Hot Wheels toy.
Instead of putting a turbocharger in a vehicle, cast members such as Mad Mike, Ishmael “Ish” Jimenez and others would deck out cars with TV screens, a chandelier or a robotic arm that played the triangle. We can’t make this stuff up—it’s something one has to literally see to believe. For proof, be sure and check out 20 things Pimp My Ride actually added to cars for more.
With six seasons under its belt, the show went on to spawn several urban legends that have only grown in interest since it originally ran from 2004 to 2007. We’re going to cover some of the most revealing urban legends to come out of Pimp My Ride that completely changes the way one sees the show going forward.
20 Not All The Mods Remained Intact
There’s an urban legend about Pimp My Ride—one that perhaps all reality TV shows suffer from—that alleges the show was fake. The contestants and their cars were real, the shop and cast too—even the mods were legit. What’s called into question is how much the producers dressed up the cars while filming the show.
The Huffington Post interviewed a few of the contestants from the show about their cars, who claim that many mods on the show didn't stay on the cars (All Hip Hop). There are lots of specific mods viewers will remember that didn’t stick around, which we cover throughout the list.
19 The Cars Were Cop Magnets
People will look for excuses when it comes to getting in trouble with the law. There may, however, be some truth to the next one, urban legend or not. According to one contestant on the show, their car managed to get a lot more unwanted attention after the show wrapped.
Formula Santander reports that Justin Dearinger got pulled over every day for his car. Really though, it wasn’t because he was speeding all the time, but rather because cops recognized it from the hit show and wanted to see it up close and personal. It sounds like the mods added to Dearinger’s car was more a curse than it was a blessing.
18 A Car's Champagne Feature Didn’t Get Very Far From The Shop
Part of the appeal (or lack of appeal, depending on who you talk to) of the show lies in the many wacky and creative features added to cars. Since the show aired, however, some possible revelations about the show have come to light. During a Reddit AMA, a few of the owners who appeared on the show spilled the beans on what really went on behind the scenes.
In an interview with The Huffington Post following the AMA, Justin Dearinger said they removed the champagne feature from his car after filming wrapped since it had the potential to give a wrong message about driving under the influence (All Hip Hop).
17 They Didn’t Pimp Much Under The Hood
Looking at the outside of the car, the crew from Pimp My Ride did a lot. In fact, they spent even more of their time working on these cars than it seemed on the show, which we touch on in greater detail elsewhere. The inside of the car is a different story, however. In a quote provided by All Hip Hop, one of the owners said, “There wasn’t much done under the hood in regards to the actual mechanics of the vehicles.”
No one knows how many owners on the show went through the same thing but seeing as most of the upgrades were about making the cars flashy, this owner probably wasn’t the only one.
16 The Cotton Candy Maker Didn’t Even Fit Inside A Closed Trunk
The cotton candy maker that appeared in one owner’s car is just about the epitome of Pimp My Ride. No one’s ever really going to turn down a cotton candy maker that’s hidden inside the trunk of a car. The only problem with the one from the show is it didn’t fit inside the trunk. As is typical of cotton candy machines, it had a round top. That shape doesn’t really work inside the back of a car though, does it?
The site All Hip Hop notes that because of the dome shape, it wasn’t able to fit inside, which would let loose a bunch of cotton candy in the back.
15 The Show Made Cars Look Worse Than They Really Were
It makes sense that a show that’s all about transforming cars would want the cars coming in to look the worse for wear. That way it only makes their final product look even better. It may have even been the case with Pimp My Ride if The Huffington Post’s conversations with owners from the show are any indication.
One of them claims, as per FanSided, that the show added trash to cars before putting them on camera. Perhaps the owner’s car really was that messy, they were just too embarrassed to admit it. Then again, we wouldn’t put it past the show to pull something like this.
14 Someone Stole A Pimped Ride
As with all urban legends, take this next one with a grain of salt. It comes by way of The Museum of Hoaxes, which got the rumor from message boards on Elle.com. One episode featured a Cadillac that got the Pimp My Ride treatment.
According to the supposed report, after it went through its transformation, someone managed to steal the car. Granted, it was a great car, but perhaps even better before it went through the transformation. It seems like someone would want it less after it went through West Coast Custom’s shop. The Museum of Hoaxes points out that they haven’t been able to find any other sites confirming this.
13 Cars Arrived With Problems, But They Modded Them Anyways
In an ideal world, the crew on Pimp My Ride would have worked on brand new cars. Part of the appeal behind the show though is taking already-existing cars and breathing new life into them. It appears that the cast disregarded many of the problems cars had when they rolled into the shop to have work done. As per a quote by one of the executive producers from the show, as per the site All Hip Hop: “Some of the cars were so old and rusted that they would have mechanical issues no matter how much work you put into them...”
In the end, it seems like the crew could only do so much, and the show wasn’t really about restoring cars or turning back years on them, was it?
12 They Put Bigger Rims On During Filming, Then Took Them Off
There’s a lot of rumors floating around about Pimp My Ride since the show aired. Then there’s a lot of things the producers, cast, and owners have spilled the beans on about what really happened behind the scenes. It stands to reason there’s some grain of truth in what they say, even if it conflicts with what viewers saw on screen.
The site All Hip Hop claims that Larry Hochberg, one of the show’s executive producers, admits that they had 24-inch spinners on a car and then swapped them out for 20-inch ones when it actually hit the road. If true, this supports the idea that many parts got switched out after they shot the episodes.
11 A Car Caught On Fire
The good news here is that Pimp My Ride may not have been responsible for this story. Apparently one of the contestant’s cars caught on fire. The site Formula Santander reports that it was likely the result of more mods the owner had added to his ride after the show.
It’s really unfortunate for the owner, if true, considering he wasn’t too happy with the mods Pimp My Ride had done, which could explain why he spent —what the same source confirms—was $20,000 worth of work. It would seem that all that investment literally went up in smoke.
10 The Show Hurt Xzibit’s Career and Bank Account
Seems as if Xzibit, the indelible host of Pimp My Ride, isn’t afraid to bite the hand that fed him. While the show undoubtedly raised the rapper’s profile, Xzibit has come out to set the record straight in asserting the contrary. While on The Breakfast Club, Ambrosia For Heads reports that Xzibit said, “In the beginning, I felt like it hurt my career.”
Later on in the interview, he said, “I feel as though it became profitable for everyone else except me.” With the benefit of hindsight, Xzibit seems to look back at his turn on Pimp My Ride in a different light.
9 Car Features Stopped Working After They Left The Shop
This next urban legend can’t be too hard to believe considering the upgrades on Pimp My Ride never looked the best. Even though West Coast Customs was behind the upgrades, they weren’t the highest quality. With that in mind, it’s really not that surprising to discover that parts of the cars didn’t work properly when the owners took them home.
As per the site All Hip Hop, the TVs built-in to the headrests on one of the owner’s cars failed to work later on after they shot the episode. Viewers of the show shouldn’t find this urban legend too surprising, although it’s still hard to accept.
8 Owners Called Up Mad Mike For Help
If it sounds sad that owners’ cars weren’t working right after the show, it gets sadder. The site All Hip Hop reports that owners went back to the same place that did the upgrades for them: West Coast Customs. Mad Mike became their go-to in fixing their rides. No one can blame the actors for going back to Mad Mike. Imagine having a mechanic work on the car only to make it worse than it was.
Mike himself admitted that contestants reached out to him and went on to say he’d even pick up their cars with a tow truck, perhaps because he felt bad for how the mods went.
7 It Took Way Longer To Mod Cars Than The Show Made It Seem
Many reality shows about cars manipulate time, making it look shorter (or longer, in some cases) than it really was. There’s an urban legend that the time on Pimp My Ride was greatly exaggerated. Taken from interviews conducted by The Huffington Post with the show’s contestants, there's a report it took a lot longer to do all the mods than the show let on.
According to FanSided, while the show made it look like the crew did it in days, it really took them months to bring the transformation to a close. If true, it makes one wonder how they ever finished a season on time.
6 The Owners Used Rental Cars While Their Cars Got Pimped
On the surface, many may have viewed the owners on Pimp My Ride as lucky. Looking at their tales while on the show, however, it seems like it was really all a drag. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Seth Martino notes he had to use a rental car while they worked on his car. They go on to note that MTV was nice enough to pay for the rental car at first, until he had to pay for it himself months later.
The network did, however, pay for the expenses a couple of years down the line at least. It wasn’t without its hassles though for Martino, who had to drive almost 40 miles one way each month just to pay for the rental car.
5 The Network Always Had a Tow Truck Within Reach
Let’s be clear, MTV is a network and more than anything, they want to make money and stay relevant. Isn’t that what all TV networks want? That means making practical decisions and rational investments. So when the network realized that the crew aboard Pimp My Ride wasn’t exactly fixing rides or improving their longevity, they got a tow truck.
According to one of the show’s producers, as per Ranker, they had a tow truck always on hand. This would come in handy when cars weren’t cooperative but they needed to get it out of the shop to make way for the next one.
4 There Were Rules About Selling The Cars
Imagine a team wants to take someone's car, add mods—which arguably make it run worse—and then make some rules about not being able to sell it. That appears to be one of the stories to come out of Pimp My Ride in the wake of the show’s airing.
The site Formula Santander reports that the owners weren’t allowed to sell their cars if they made any mention of it being on Pimp My Ride. If accurate, it makes sense, since having a car that was on the show would raise the car’s worth and could get a lot of interested buyers, thus allowing contestants to profit off the show.
3 They Took Out A Car's Mobile Cinema Mod Behind The Scenes
Not everything on Pimp My Ride is as it seems. There’s an urban legend going around that the show was really staged and that many of the builds changed after filming wrapped. That seems to be the case with one ride, at least according to the owner, Justin Dearinger.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, he said that the crew took out several of the features, including the "drive-in theater.” According to All Hip Hop, it wouldn’t have been safe to drive around with this kind of upgrade. While they aren’t wrong, it changes one’s perspective of the show if they only put this in for the episode.
2 Those Weren’t The Car Owners’ Real Homes
This urban legend, if true, isn’t as big of a bombshell as others. More than likely, most reality shows are guilty of staging. According to All Hip Hop, MTV staged houses up to look like they belonged to the contestants. The site even purports that the network only rented them out and that they weren’t the contestants' actual homes.
Usually, Xzibit would knock on contestants’ doors to share the great news that their car was getting a makeover, but it couldn’t have been much of a surprise if MTV really rented the homes out. It looks this was just another way Pimp My Ride fooled audiences.
1 That Triangle-Playing Robotic Arm Was A Fake
Seems like that robotic arm the Pimp My Ride crew added to a car was really playing audiences all this time instead of a triangle. The owner of the car revealed the truth, or urban legend, behind it. All Hip Hop reports that the owner, Seth Martino, said that the arm wasn’t as it appeared to viewers.
According to Martino, as per an interview with The Huffington Post, the item “was just a robotic arm with a bunch of wires hanging out of it.” He also goes on to note that the crew had coded the arm to move using a computer.
Sources: All Hip Hop, FanSided, Ambrosia For Heads, Elle.com, The Museum of Hoaxes, The Huffington Post, Ranker, Formula Santander