This show picks young car owners living in Los Angeles or elsewhere in Southern California. An episode of Pimp My Ride generally begins with the participant showing his or her car off, and convincing MTV why it needs to be "pimped". After this segment, the host (normally rapper Xzibit, but there are occasionally guest hosts such as Chamillionaire) shows up at the participant's house, takes a look at the car himself, makes wisecracks about the particular things that are wrong with it, and promises the owner a complete makeover of the vehicle.
After examining the car, Xzibit takes it to a custom body shop (West Coast Customs (WCC) in Seasons 1–4; replaced by Galpin Auto Sports (GAS) starting Season 5), where the shop team generally replaces most of the components and rebuilds the interior and exterior from scratch.
Each car is a custom "pimp", tailored to the personalities and interests of the owners. For example, a Need for Speed: Underground fan had his car painted to look like one specially customized in the Need for Speed: Underground 2 game, while a bowler had a ball spinner installed in his trunk, a badminton player had a badminton net installed in the back of his Dodge Caravan, and a surfer got a clothes dryer in the back of his Volkswagen Type 2. Work usually includes new paint, accessories, chrome, tires and rims, and internal electronics (DVD players, video games, large TFT screens, and other cutting-edge accessories). Most changes are only cosmetic, and mechanical work is generally only done to enable the car to run; the show has replaced entire engines with new engines. Both WCC and GAS are well known for putting their own whimsical touches in their work, such as the aforementioned dryer, or an electric fireplace in the trunk of another vehicle.
At the end of the show, the car is revealed to its owner, as well as all the details of the renovation and the custom features; in addition, the participant is usually given a gift somehow related to the car or the owner's hobby.
Much of the appeal of the show comes from the personalities involved. The WCC employees are an eclectic mix of outgoing personalities, such as:
Owner Ryan (who was preceded by the good-natured manager Q)
The heavily pierced tire-specialist Alex
Tough-looking interior and fabric maven Ish
Electronics (and outrageous engineering) expert Mad Mike
Accessories specialist, the appropriately named Big Dane
Paint Guys Aren, Buck, 2Shae, and Luis. The latter carried on into the following seasons.
After the third season, WCC manager "Q" announced that he would not be willing to take a role in the show anymore. Q cited a desire to expand the company's business with a customs shop in St. Louis, Missouri called Coast 2 Coast Customs. Ryan Friedlinghaus, the owner of WCC, was featured in Season 4 as the "lead" for discussions on what customizing will be done on the incoming cars.
Beginning with the fifth season, the show moved to another garage, Galpin Auto Sports (GAS), as Ryan, the WCC Owner, moved his shop to Corona, California and has signed a deal with another television production company. However, the show retains Mad Mike (who has quit at WCC and signed at GAS), now dubbed a "car customization specialist". The new cast includes the employees of GAS:
"Owner" Beau Boeckmann (In reality, Vice President of Galpin Auto; the owner of Galpin Auto is his father, Bert Boeckmann )
Electronics Expert And "The Wizard of Wiring" Mad Mike,
The Wheels & Tires Specialist Gyasi,
Paint & Body Luis,
Accessories specialist Diggity Dave,
Shop Crew Z
On only three occasions — all season finales — did the show not "pimp" the original automobile.
In the first instance, the car to be pimped was actually two halves of Ford Escorts welded together to make one car, a "cut and shut" job, and was declared unsafe.
In the second instance the participant was studying to be an auto mechanic, and WCC decided to let him "pimp" his car as a study project.
In the most recent such incident, Xzibit felt the owner's car, a Nissan Pulsar, was not worth fixing, as heat from the car's engine and battery fluid was leaking into the cab, creating a fire hazard.
In all these instances, the vehicles of the participants were replaced with brand new cars, with extensive modifications made to customize each new car for the owner.
Pimp My Ride is one of MTV's most popular shows with nearly all of its worldwide viewers, and also in the U.S., where it is second place to The Real World (which is generally much less known outside of the United States). Country Music Television, also owned by MTV parent Viacom, has a show called Trick My Truck that operates on the same principle, but only customizes semi-trailer trucks.
Canada's music network, MuchMusic, also aired the show until MTV Networks signed a deal with CTV, which resulted in MuchMusic losing their rights to MTV programs. MuchMusic's French-language sister station, MusiquePlus, airs the show subtitled in French under the title Pimp mon char ("char" is Quebec French slang for "car"). However in August 2008 MuchMusic regained their rights to re-air Pimp My Ride, but airing Season 5 and 6.
A UK version of the show launched on 26 June 2005, presented by the DJ Tim Westwood (famously known only by his last name). Carisma Automotive are the customisers for the UK version. The employees in Carisma Automotive are:
A legendary boss Jamie Shaw
Old man bald head paint expert Ronnie
Bodywork king Martin
Designer chick Pinky
Accessories brawn Richie
Audio and Multimedia punk Bluey
Wheels and tires prince Junior (Actually, Junior's first name is Stuart)
On 1 October 2008 also the Baltic version of the show was first launched.
The German-language MTV Central has two adaptations of the show called Pimp My Fahrrad (English: "Pimp My Bicycle") and Pimp My Whatever. On Pimp My Fahrrad, the bike shop Elbcoast Psycles redoes almost the entire bicycle, usually leaving only the frame intact. While the show could be seen as a parody of the American original, it is also a loving tribute, using all the elements of the American show with a bicycle twist (Germany's safety guidelines are among the strictest in the world, and getting a road permit for thoroughly customized vehicles borders on the impossible. Similar rules apply in most of continental Europe). It is hosted by German actor Oliver Korittke. In Pimp My Whatever ElbCoast Psychos return once more to pimp anything from a bathroom and a doghouse to a birthday party or even someone's brother. Pimp My Whatever is hosted by MTV presenter Patrice Bouédibéla. Both shows are located in Hamburg. The original United States Pimp My Ride is shown in English language with German subtitles.
Pimp My Ride broadcasts on weekdays in the Middle East on the channel MBC Action.
Pimp My Ride is also broadcasting on MTV Arabia, the new MTV channel for the Arab world, although MTV Arabia didn't start the show from the beginning. Instead they started broadcasting the show from Season 5. MBC Action is still airing old episodes of the show.
An Arabic version has started broadcasting on MBC 1 called Dale' Sayaratak (Arabic: دلع سيارتك "Spoil Your Car"). A popular malt beverage manufacturing company "Barbican" sponsored this show " Dale Sayaratak " and they also "pimped" the cars and showed them in their commercials.
US$20,000 of goods put into the Hi-Jet, painted in "Hi-Jet" blue with silver and gray flames. The "micro-van" was done with a Jet theme, including authentic airliner "fasten your seatbelt" plaques and a large rear spoiler. The rear of the van included a wrap-around couch, wall mounted 15-inch TV and tiny fridge. Wyatt (tying to start a band) was given a preamp and guitar to be able to play music through the stereo system, and a mini camera was installed in the grill and displayed on the internal monitors. Music featured in this episode includes: The Darkness - I Believe In A Thing Called Love.
Nile bought the car for US$700 because it was "big and strong", and she wanted to show that big cars are "not just for guys, the girls can roll too."
Painted in candy pink pearl and fitted with 20-inch wheels, the car had a see-through DVD changer in the dash and a plexiglass-encapsulated "river" (playing off the River Nile). And when the trunk opened, a shoe rack full of new shoes automatically extended, replacing the pile of old shoes Nile had stashed in her trunk.
The front seats were made to recline all the way flat so that the custom LCD monitor in the headliner could be easily viewed.
The car was originally fitted with special exhaust pipes that shot out flames when the engine was started. However, due to concerns of the WCC owner Ryan that such devices could be illegal, they were quickly removed.
When the Trans Am was being pimped, some of the WCC crew made references to Smokey and the Bandit. This pimped-out vehicle had a coffee maker installed in a center console and a chandelier in place of the dome light.
The car has a huge bird decal installed on the new Trans Am's hood. However, due to the oversized design, a smaller one replaced it.
This was a "cut n' shut" car built out of two halves of two Ford Escorts welded together; therefore the car was considered too dangerous for him to continue to own. To replace this car, WCC and Xzibit procured a 2004 Scion xB and "pimped" that instead.
Produced as a replica tie-in with the video game Need for Speed: Underground 2, because the owner was a fan of the video game series. Of note is that the game uses a hatchback, while the pimped car was a coupe.
The 19 year-old owner was hoping to become a mechanic, so WCC and Xzibit decided to let him restore his car himself and procured a 2005 Toyota 4Runner to "pimp". This is the only time that the car intended to be pimped was returned to the person without being worked on, and the only time in the show's three replacement vehicles (to date) that the person got back the old car and received a new pimped vehicle.
A digital projector was mounted on the trunk lid that could pivot so that the projector faced forward and could turn any wall into a drive-in movie theater. A popcorn maker was also installed in the center console and individual DVD players were also stuffed into the headrests so the rear passengers could each watch their own movie.
The owner of the vehicle was studying to become a nutritionist. The car was fitted with a huge cloth sunroof, a rear wing with a solar panel to power the electronics, and a juicer in the trunk. The entire interior of the car was retrofitted with yellow shag carpeting; when he saw it Xzibit promptly joked, "Who killed Big Bird?"
This car was infested with rat droppings; indeed, the mechanics found a live rat inside the car. Consequentially, Xzibit's gift to the car's owner was a cat, which Jessica named "Pacer".
At the end it says; "no rats were harmed in the pimpin' of this ride"
The car had suffered a lot of superficial body damage before it was "pimped". The reverse gear was also broken, which WCC had repaired. Intriguing features of this car included four liquid crystal displays mounted in the left and right of both front and rear bumpers.
Since being pimped, Josh wrecked the car, as he brought it to the "Where are They Now?" episode sans hood. Xzibit mockingly told Josh that they do not do Re-Pimps. Xzibit also revealed that, 15 minutes after giving Josh his rental car — MTV gives rental cars to the owners whose cars are being pimped — he also wrecked his rental car (a Chevrolet Malibu).
This truck was "pimped" so that the entire truck bed could come out at an angle. Also, the driver's seat included a special raise and lower feature, as Heather (a very short female) had difficulty seeing out the back.
The truck had its brakes nearly completely gone (which emits a very loud screeching sound); the show featured the truck hitting an egg (before the brakes were fixed), then rerunning the same stunt with fixed brakes, where the egg was not hit.
The truck also had, for proper weight, cow manure, and hoes (Xzibit frequently told the audience during this episode that the "hoes" were of the gardening kind, not the other kind) in the truck bed before being "pimped".
The electronics in the back of her truck cost more than US$30,000.
Since the owner was a full-time student who often slept in his van, the van was installed with a custom fully reclining Maybach-style seat positioned between two waterfalls. It also included a 17-inch LCD flip monitor, a built-in DVD player. In addition, Tin was given a laptop with wireless internet, a wireless keyboard and a USB compatible microscope. The original grill was swapped out for that of a Plymouth Voyager. Since Tin played badminton, a badminton net was installed in the rear of the van.
An all-new small-block Chevy V8 engine was installed in the car in order to live up to its reputation as a muscle car. Also, since the driver practiced magic, it also had its sound system concealed, only to be revealed by a secret incantation.
Alex revealed on the "Where are They Now?" episode that he wrecked the car the first day he got it back.
The WCC crew removed the backseats and replaced it with the MTX Audio JackHammer, a 22-inch subwoofer weighing 369 pounds. A decibel meter was installed in the dash to alert Jake to keep it down. Uniquely, due to wanting a retro 1950s nature for the car, this would perhaps be the only car in Pimp My Ride's history to have flat black paint, and alloys replaced with regular steel wheels, whitewalls, and hubcaps.
During the filming of this episode, Big Dane told Jake to "Be more excited, or I will stomp you."
Having stated that Calvin had seen a UFO (known as the Flying Saucer) after living in the desert, his car was painted silver with green glow-in-the-dark crop circles and featured doors that opened automatically via a remote control.
This was the first actual business vehicle to be pimped, which means Dante could receive a tax deduction if he gets taxed for everything put into it.
The truck was painted sapphire blue with icicles on the side. Ice cream-related features included a touch screen order system, a robotic arm which can dispense the ice cream to the customer at a kid level, and a full stock of ice cream.
Having been completely stripped of all parts and stolen, only the actual frame and cabin remained (he still can drive it because California state law says that in order to drive a car, it must have working headlights, which it has). The car was painted in a camouflage style purple, white, grey, and black, nicknamed "glamoflage" (sticking out instead of blending in as camouflage does). The seats had a layer of kevlar added. Other than a complete "pimping" of his car, Jason also received a Yamaha Raptor 350 All Terrain Vehicle that was also pimped. The GAS crew put two LCD monitors and a DVD player on the ATV.
Xzibit finds the graphics on the SUV and he does not know what kind of graphics these are.
The Range Rover was given an orange paint job with a white stripe. In the rear a water bed and water machine were installed. On the roof GAS installed a satellite dish which could connect to the internet from anywhere in the world.
This pimped vehicle is seen on the intro episode of "Where are they now?".
Car's Aztec-style paint scheme by street artist Man One; interior seats done up with Aztec pyramid designs; trunk made to hold art supplies for Xilomen's art classes; car can "paint" via paint guns in each tire's wheel well.
A football fan's El Camino becomes the ultimate tailgating machine. Metallic purple paint job with yellow flames. New 350 cubic-inch, 350 hp engine with bird catcher blowers. Satellite TV with five plasma monitors, 5000 Watt audio amplifier, and PlayStation 2. Also includes a propane grill and Wunder Bar condiment dispenser.
Car's body parts placed with the Porsche and Ferrari body kits by the GAS crew.
The car's theme was "Hair Force One". This is due to the fact that Lawanna was a hair stylist who was about to enter the Air Force. In the trunk in the car's front was installed a sink with shampoo and conditioner dispensers, as well as waterproof speakers and an iPod nano. Inside the car was a high-power hair dryer which got air via a scoop on the car's roof.
The cockpit featured airplane-style gauges and a flight navigation system. Xzibit also gave her a plane toy that includes flight lessons in order to fly a real plane.
Due to the high temperatures the engine was giving off to the cockpit, Xzibit replaced the Pulsar with a brand-new Ford Mustang GT to be pimped.
This is only the third time in the series history, and the first time using GAS as the customizer, that the vehicle was replaced rather than pimped.
The new Mustang GT was painted bright green with chrome on the front end. The interior featured seventeen monitors between the pillars, sun visors, dashboard, and head rests. In the trunk were three additional monitors, including a 20-inch monitor that could pop out, tilt, and spin around. This is a PMR record for most monitors installed (twenty total).
"Where are They Now?" Episode
Xzibit revisited the pimped cars of "Big" Ron (Cadillac El Dorado), Dante (Ford Econoline Ice Cream Truck), Josh (Toyota Corolla), Nile (Cadillac DeVille), Ryan (VW Bus), Christine (Honda Civic), and Alex (Chevrolet Chevelle).
Two of the cars have since been wrecked: Josh's Corolla (he also totaled the rental car they gave him) and Alex's Chevelle (which was totaled the first day he got it).
Two of the rides were seen in the intro part of this episode are: Tad's Range Rover and Nate's Econoline.
Equipped with a new Ford Racing Engine, Kumho racing tires that makes pink smoke if the driver does a burnout, windows that roll up by snapping, and a trunk that takes pictures when the trunk lid is opened.
Mike had bought the van from the Wonder Bread company for US$300 when they retired it from their fleet.
Mike had done a pimping job on his own car. The back of his car contained a chandelier, a couch, a surfboard, a TV, and a Super NES; making it the first car on the show that had a video game system in the car before it was pimped.
Mad Mike hooked up two MTX Audio JackHammers into the car.
Xzibit said the Super NES was what he thought was the first Nintendo, it was actually the second.
GAS paints the car pink with a redish-pink symbol on the front, they took the Mercedes symbol off and made a big "S" made out of diamonds (actually rhinestones). Monitors were put in all of the head rests (Facing forward for some strange reason, making it so people in the front seats would have to turn their head around to watch them). Also, it included fake beaver skin seats. At the end they gave her custom made pink Roller Skates.
GAS crew equips with a special "crunk trunk", which opens and closes repeatedly. However, this show features GAS crew Jason, placing his arm on an open trunk. Mad Mike then tests it out, and Jason's arm becomes amputated. Jason says that it's "only a flesh wound". The blood nearly stained the car. (intended to be a spoof of the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)
After the placing of the beaver fur on the seats it says "no rabbits were harmed or pimped during the making of this episode"
The forward facing head rest monitors were dubbed "Extreme Hatervision" by Mad Mike and Xzibit.
The car was sideswiped across both passenger doors and as a result, was totaled and went to scrap.
The GAS crew equips with a slot machine in order to open the sliding door, the owner must get a jackpot. A craps table floor and a keyboard piano with a roulette table built inside of a baby grand piano replica were installed as well.
Because of his love of both Transformers and all kinds of candy, his car's pimping includes a "Transforming" back seat that slides open to reveal the sound system and monitors, and a cotton candy machine in the trunk.
In honor of Jonathan's love of comic books (and the Fantastic Four in particular) and surfing, the car was painted with "Silver Surfer" chrome, and the interior done up with Fantastic Four accents, including a comic keeper replacing the glove box (loaded with a copy of Fantastic Four #48 — the issue in which the Silver Surfer premiered — valued at US$4000) and a rear A/V/Xbox setup inspired by The Thing. He was also presented with a custom "Silver Surfer" surfboard.
Due to being unavailable to film this episode, Xzibit's hosting duties were filled in by rapper Chamillionaire, who — according to the episode — used to drive a CRX as his work vehicle, transporting urine samples from doctors' offices to the testing facility.
Since he was running a family dog grooming business, the back of his van got the ultimate grooming station with a new bathtub and a drying cage with a 32-inch monitor so the dogs can watch TV while they get dried off.
They also hooked him up with a slide-out 42-inch monitor, a black and blue paint job with cage graphics because he wanted to become a cage fighter.
GAS also gave him a hot dog maker in his dash when he gets hungry.
Bethan Jones wanted her car pimped so it could be her wedding car. The headrests had custom embroidered "Mr." and "Mrs." (Mrs on the driver's side, naturally), as well as a matching love seat in the boot. Surfboards were resting on a new roof rack, and since Bethan was "really into" photography the garage install a laptop, printer, digital camera, plus a mobile phone to upload pictures on the go.
As Lawrence was a fan of 1950s culture, the car was pimped in the style of a 1950s hotrod. An American style diner was installed in the boot. It was advertised for sale in the March 2007 issue of Custom Car Magazine and the May 2007 issue of Retro Ford.
This was pimped as part of the 2007 Comic Relief appeal, the "Community Volunteer Transport" of the Staffordshire Moorlands. The van features an LCD screen bingo game that is linked behind each seat of the bus for the elderly passengers.
The van was used as a tour bus for Robin and his band, Playground Legend. It had a recording studio with a sofa in the rear, and the outside was decorated with the band's logo and a picture of the band members.
This car was a rigged convertible top and hatches of spiders inside the car.
Pop culture references
Since the show's debut, Pimp My Ride has been referred to numerous times by other television shows and comedic acts; several similar shows have aired on other networks. Other companies, including MTV itself, have spoofed the series on their own shows, acts, or television commercials.
As part of a 2006 advertising campaign, Volkswagen created a series of television commercials called Un-Pimp My Ride, starring Swedish actor Peter Stormare as an effete German engineer named Wolfgang. The ads were created as a parody of the Pimp My Ride TV Show. The three 30-second spots became something of an Internet phenomenon when popular automotive news website Leftlane News uploaded the ads to the video distribution service, YouTube.
Xzibit appeared as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and a sketch was shown called "Pimp My Bride". The sketch shows a typical bride forming into a lingerie-bearing bride, with an LCD screen attached to her back (which is very common in the MTV program itself). The sketch was filmed in the same style as the show, most notably the camera angles.
Robot Chicken did a segment in one episode, with a show called "Pimp My Sister".
In episode 8 of Season 1 in The Boondocks (TV series) entitled "The Real", Riley was able to convince two reality makeover shows to work on his Granddad's belongings. One of the shows is "Pimp My Ride", to 'pimp out' his Granddad's car. Xzibit also did the voiceover of his animated self in this episode.
In series 3 of Bo' Selecta, there is a short sketch entitled "Pimp My Bride" in which a comedic imitation of Michael Jackson helps people by giving their wives a makeover.
On the Drake and Josh episode I Love Sushi, the boys enter a contest for a television show called "Pump My Room". They win & the people tell Drake & Josh to leave their home so they can remodel their home. It turns out they rob them of everything & that it's really a phony TV show. So they get temporary jobs packaging sushi at The Ball & Vance Fish Corp.
A 2013 ad campaign for SKODA, starring Xzibit, parodies the fact that in some episodes they would simply replace to car completely with another, in this case a SKODA Yeti.
Viacom, the owner of the Pimp My Ride franchise, has made legal threats against a number of small business owners over the use of the words Pimp My... in business names. Businesses using the names Pimp My Pet and Pimp My Snack have been threatened with legal action for an alleged breach of a trademark owned by Viacom. The website Pimp My Snack is now known as Pimp That Snack.
Monster Garage: Also features outrageous custom engineering of vehicles, albeit within an entirely different program format.
NASCAR Angels: Rebuilds cars (cosmetic, and mechanical) for needy, or deserving fans.
Overhaulin': Like Pimp My Ride,Overhaulin' features automobiles in poor condition being restored to show-quality. However, Overhaulin' places emphasis on performance enhancements, works with a set time limit (usually a week), tricks vehicle owners into parting with their cars, and is aimed for a more mature audience. Although ostensibly a competitor of Pimp My Ride, one episode featured a WCC paint job.
Unique Whips: The East Coast equivalent of West Coast Customs
Pimp My Car (MTV Indonesia) a version of Pimp My Ride.
Pimp My Room (MTV, The Netherlands) features some friendly competition between three students to see who will win the university student bedroom or apartment overhaul. Subsequently the room is "pimped".
Pimp My Wheels (MTV, Italy) in which mopeds and motorcycles are customized.
Meke My Waka (New Zealand) A similar program shown on Māori Television.
All the Gear No Idea! (British) for Men & Motors, but mainly deal with motorcycles which the bike get shipped to US customiser LA County Choprods for a customisation, unlike other motor-makeover shows, its owner receive a makeover.
Pimp My Kettle (MTV Australia) a series of short mini-documentaries about pimping kitchen kettles (also hosted on the website). The website also includes pictures of real kettles pimped by artists and professional car customizers.
Proxenete My Brete (Quebec, Pimp my Lemon) parody of the show performed by teenagers of Zebu production from Vaudreuil. The three internet episodes are extremely satirical, usually involving "pimping" the car with a non-existent budget and with things such as cardboard skirts, wooden spoilers, Christmas lights, aluminum foil rims, etc.
Chav My Motor (UK) satire, based on the boy racer culture of car modification amongst Chavs.
Pimp My Fahrrad (German) where bicycles are pimped by ElbCoast Psycles.
Pimp My Whatever (German) where anything can be pimped.
Skanger me Banger(Irish) bebo.com/skangermebanger. hosted by 'Colin Farrell', who skangers 'Damos' honda civic. This is an obvious parody with Irish trance tunes and set in inner city Dublin