Pimp My Ride premiered on MTV in 2004, and it was basically the stuff teenagers’ dreams are made of.
It was so simplistic: get a famous rapper to host the show, take a kid with a beat up car and orchestrate a ridiculous upgrade with overly dramatic scripted acting.
But more than the acting on the MTV hit was fake, according to its contestants. And they’ve just exposed a whole lot of issues with the show.
Justin Dearinger’s 1997 Toyota RAV 4
Former Pimp My Ride contestant Justin Dearinger recounted his experience in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread. If you were an avid watcher of the show, Justin had the 1997 Toyota RAV 4 pimped out with a pop-up champagne holder, chocolate fondue fountain and drive-in theatre.
He said: “They actually take out a lot of the stuff that they showed on TV.” In Dearinger’s case, it was the ‘pop-up champagne contraption and a drive-in theater.’ He also added that PMR exaggerated the pre-pimp condition of his RAV 4, saying producers made the bumper ‘look like it was falling off’ and removed the paint to make the exterior look worse than it was.
Five years after the show, with extensive and expensive outside work done by Dearinger himself, his pimped car burst into flames, according to The Huffington Post.
Seth Martino’s 1989 Nissan Maxima
In his Reddit AMA, season six contestant Seth Martino said the show went the extra mile when it came to highlighting Seth’s weight. He said, on the show: “[They] 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 gave me a cotton candy machine in my trunk. I sat there and watched them dump out two bags of generic candy.”
Martino also added that ‘there wasn’t much done under the hood in regards to the actual mechanics of the vehicle,’ saying the new features ‘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.’ According to Martino, the car would only run for about a month. Then he had to save up his own money to replace the engine. He said his car was ‘basically a polished turd’.
Jake Galzier’s 1986 Buick Century
From PMR season four, Jake Galzier told Reddit that MTV didn’t actually fix the car’s mechanical problems. He said the car needed a muffler, and so a fake exhaust pipe was installed to make it seem as if that’s what the car was supposed to sound like, ‘even though it was just lack of a muffler.’
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… 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.
He also recalled having to amp up the drama when he was shown his new pimped-out car: “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 … we expect you to be a little more fucking enthusiastic.”
But despite all the backlash, Pimp My Ride casting director Nick Chiodini, who worked for MTV for eight years, told BuzzFeed News the show never set out to fix mechanical problems in cars.
As much as it was a showy, fun show, the intention was never to make it seem like we were fixing these cars and turning them into $1-million cars on the inside.
It was about fulfilling a dream for a kid in college.
So while the show was fake, it can’t be all that surprising. You can’t add a pool table, a hot tub and a mini theatre in your car’s boot and expect it to run properly. Shame.