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The Untold Truth Of Pimp My Ride

Pimp My Ride fans may have believed the MTV show acted like a fairy godmother for car lovers who couldn't afford tricked-out rides. Peek under the hood of this gearhead favorite, however, and instead of finding a shiny V-8 engine, there might be a hamster on a wheel—metaphorically speaking, anyway. There's no arguing Pimp My Ride's popularity and impact on pop culture, but the show's behind-the-scenes reality might make you see it differently. 

The process didn't take days, or even weeks, it took months

The show gives the impression that people got their cars back days later, the paint still wet, but some car owners report it actually took upwards of seven months. Shops had to order parts or make custom details that required time. To top it off, former contestants told Huffington Post that MTV didn't always provide an alternate car for the entire time. One said that they only paid for the first two months—and worse, because of his young age, most reputable companies wouldn't even rent to him.

Many cars with mechanical issues left with the same problems

There's nothing glamorous about fixing a major mechanical issue, and Pimp My Ride apparently didn't try too hard. Instead, they used the cars as elaborate advertisements for their sponsored businesses by installing eye-catching fixtures. Some problems were fixed, but contestants have claimed the labor was sloppy, while others report the cars stopped working entirely days later. One contestant, Seth Martino, said in his Reddit AMA that his pimped car was a "polished turd" that he couldn't even drive—until he spent $1,700 of his own money to replace the engine that the crews neglected to work on. But hey! At least he got a robot arm that can ding a triangle for some reason!

Producers tweaked car owners' backstories for dramatic effect

When contestants didn't seem interesting enough, the show added some spice. Some cars were doctored to look worse in the "before" shots. Martino complained producers planted candy throughout his car in the beginning because he's overweight and wanted a reason to install a cotton candy machine. Another car owner said they told him to break up with his girlfriend to appear more in need of the show's help.

Car owners knew they were chosen beforehand

The element of surprise is great for good television, and Pimp My Ride always started with an unexpected knock on a jalopy owner's door. How many do you really think answered at just the right moment? That's why car owners were prepped beforehand. Some contestants knew they were finalists, while others were already mic'ed up and ready for retakes. Contestant Jake Glazier explained that producers didn't think he seemed excited enough, so they made him do it again. Other times, if a person's house didn't seem right for television, they'd go to a different home altogether.