OPINION | MTV's Pimp My Ride show was a game-changer in the custom car scene

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In South Africa, there was a local show called 'Woelag' that was similar to Pimp My Ride.

The Pimp My Ride show on MTV came to an end in 2007.

Custom-made installations like fish tanks and fruit juicers found their way inside a car.

For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24.


The car scene has changed massively over the years, and there was a particular TV show that changed the dynamics of vehicle modification.

In 2004, MTV decided to shift the focus from the primary screening of music videos to now having its own motoring show called Pimp My Ride.

How times have changed

The show's premise was people sending in video submissions of their old, beat-up vehicles and waiting to see if rapper Xzibit would arrive at their doorstep to 'pimp their ride'.

Tim Westwood presenting the UK version of Pimp My
Tim Westwood presenting the UK version of Pimp My Ride


Was there a specific modification that stood out for you in the Pimp My Ride series? Please email us, or share a comment in the section below.

The vehicle owner would have some preference or favourite colour. This information was given to West Coast Customs, where the restoration and customising work would be carried out.

At the time, though, the show was a first for the car scene, and virtually every modification they carried out, no matter how ugly it is by today's standards, drew 'oohs and 'aahs' from most people.

READ | Lowriders, Bosozuko, hot rods and vans - Here are 8 car cultures from around the world you might not have known about

Everything from spinners to fruit juicers and little grand piano's found their home inside of a vehicle for the driver to enjoy at his or her own leisure. After all these years, just watching it again brings a cringe, and there's a vast difference between what was considered cool then versus now.

Besides those crazy in-car creations, the colour schemes and body kits never made sense and was a real eye-catcher - and for most vehicles, not in a good way.

The owners' reactions when they saw their car for the first time after the makeover was predictable, and always the same, no matter how terrible the car looked - essentially, they had to be happy because it was free!

The show came to an end in 2007, but MTV sometimes aired an episode or two if you're lucky enough. In South Africa, there was a local show called 'Woelag' that was similar to Pimp My Ride.

Changed the game

Today there is none of that wild and outrageous modifications because the show can be put down as both a 'ricer' and game-changer phase. The weird truth is, if it weren't for Pimp My Ride, then many people would still think what they did is considered 'cool'.

These days it is all about keeping a car as simple and OEM as possible with the addition of things like a drop in suspension and a decent set of aftermarket wheels.

white rim

Most people know what you're talking about if you mention a 'Fast and the Furious' front bumper. Now and again, you'll see a Nissan Sentra or Toyota Corolla with a rear 'fin' or spoiler bolted to the boot.

Even the mention of Pimp My Ride provokes a chuckle or two because most petrolheads know that was a show they once tuned in to watch.

People have learned what works and what doesn't when it comes to a car, but, just like those awkward teenage years, everything needs to go through such a phase in order to improve.

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