back to top

MTV's "Pimp My Ride" Contestants Say The Show Was Basically A Lie

They may have looked pretty, but that doesn't mean the cars worked. H/T Huffington Post.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Pimp My Ride, which started airing on MTV in 2004, was basically the stuff teenagers' dreams are made of.

MTV / Via

They tricked out beat-up cars with everything from cotton candy machines to keyboard pianos to custom LCD screens.

But after speaking with three former contestants, the Huffington Post just exposed a whole bunch of issues with the show.


Firstly, you'd think each car was in the shop for a matter of days, but contestants said the process actually took six to seven months.

The show's casting director, Nick Chiodini, disagreed. He told BuzzFeed News the average turnaround was 10 to 12 days.

Some contestants said they had to pay some of the fees out of pocket with no guarantee they'd be reimbursed.


And after all that time and money, some of the additions didn't even work.


See, the show may make the cars look cool, but the shop doesn't necessarily fix the mechanics. Martino couldn't use the car until he shelled out $1,700 for a new engine, he said.

"Some of the cars were so old and rusted that they would have mechanical issues no matter how much work you put into them [and] the production team and the car shops worked their butts off to get parts for these cars," show producer Larry Hochberg told the Huffington Post.

Hochberg and MTV declined BuzzFeed News' requests for comment.

After filming wrapped, guests said the crew immediately removed some of the coolest components from the tricked out cars.

MTV / Via

"Sometimes we did things for safety reasons that the kids on the show interpreted as us 'taking away' some items," Hochberg said.

Twenty-four-inch rims on a 1977 car, for example, were removed as a precaution.

And as with a lot of reality shows, the contestant backstories and reactions were reportedly embellished.

MTV / Via

"I remember this very clearly," Season 4 contestant Jake Glazier told the Huffington Post of how his memefied reaction to his car came to be. "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.'"

Glazier also said MTV encouraged him to dump his girlfriend in the name of giving him a better backstory: a single guy who needed his car pimped so he could meet women. Hochberg denied that story.

Ultimately, contestants like Martino said they still got something out of the experience of being on one of the network's most memorable reality shows, even though their cars weren't in the greatest shape.

"I was very excited and naïve, so they could have told me unicorns were making me breakfast and I wouldn't have questioned it," Martino said.

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," he said. "It was about fulfilling a dream for a kid in college."

For a car to be featured on the show, it had to be driven by the contestant daily and have passed inspection. He was not aware of the shop removing any features from cars after filming wrapped, but said he couldn't rule it out.

Chiodini doesn't deny the contestants' assertions to the Huffington Post that parts of the storyline were re-filmed or changed.

"Most of the story elements that maybe were fudged or overproduced a little bit, I’m sure it probably happened," Chiodini said. "I can’t debate that."

Julie Kliegman is a News Fellow and is based in New York.

Contact Julie Kliegman at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.