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The Stars Of ‘Pimp My Ride’: Where Are They Now?

Cameron EittreimJuly 14, 2021

MTV’s popular ‘Pimp My Ride’ show was the catalyst for a little-known California company named West Coast Customs, which is now a worldwide automotive juggernaut. ‘Pimp My Ride’ took ordinary (and often beat-down) cars and turn them into something else, which appealed to a wide audience at the time.

The show also helped rapper Xzibit to move away from hip hop and into a more mainstream role as a TV host. The heyday of ‘Pimp My Ride’ has long past but the show still holds a place in the hearts of many car fans. So we decided to catch up with the star of the show and see what they’re doing today. Enjoy the list below.

Photo Credit: IMDB

20: Xzibit – Putting The X in X-Files

The X-Files: I Want to Believe was only the second X-Files movie in the franchise, but Xzibit earned several accolades for his first acting job. This sprang an ongoing career for him as an actor as he moved away from the rap music scene for the foreseeable future.

Photo Credit: IMDB

The interesting thing about the X-Files movie was that Xzibit did quite well for this being his first acting job. Xzibit is one of the most recognizable faces of the 2000s. He continued to act and still does so to this day, creating a solid post-Pimp My Ride career for himself.

Photo Credit: BET

19: Xzibit – Tax Evasion

It hasn’t all been sunshine and roses for Xzibit though. Soon after the cancellation of “Pimp My Ride,” Xzibit found himself in trouble with the law. But it wasn’t for what you’d expect, it was for getting in trouble with the government. The rapper turned actor was passed due $900,000 in delinquent federal taxes. Xzibit tried to file for bankruptcy but his filings were dismissed both times.

Photo Credit: Extra

Xzibit isn’t the first rapper who has gotten in trouble with taxes, as Young Buck famously had his chain auctioned off by the government. Xzibit’s income took a major hit after ‘Pimp My Ride’ was canceled, and he reported only $67,510. Not a lot when you consider that he has an image to uphold and lives in California.

Photo Credit: Empire

18: Xzibit – Success With Empire

After dabbling in acting and getting in trouble for his taxes, Xzibit needed a change of scenery. His next big break came from the hit TV show “Empire,” where he starred as Shyne. This was Xzibit’s biggest break in his illustrious career and one that has kept him in the limelight to this day. “Empire” is a massively popular franchise for FOX and the show had some of the most well-known stars in the business.

Photo Credit: Empire

Xzibit was able to showcase his acting chops in familiar territory with the show centered around the rap business. “Empire” was the break that got Xzibit back on track financially, and he claimed MTV did him dirty during the ‘Pimp My Ride’ years. The success that Xzibit had with Empire allowed the musician to revisit his rap career.

Photo Credit: KSFM

17: Xzibit – Return To Rap

Starting in 2016, Xzibit started to collaborate with Dr. Dre on a new album where his love for music came back into the fray. Xzibit worked with many well-known artists to get his music back out there and it was a huge improvement from the past.

Photo Credit: BET

Although the new album hasn’t come out yet, Xzibit was able to cultivate quite a large Youtube following. As one of the early pioneers of modern West Coast rap, Xzibit has long been a staple of the industry. Although he fell off for a while the new music is better than before and fans are happy that Xzibit has found a happy medium.

Photo Credit: MTV

16: “Mad Mike” Martin

One of the most notable fabricators on the “Pimp My Ride” was “Mad Mike” Martin. Growing up in Compton, he had a taste for lowriders and California style. As the lead fabricator at West Coast Customs, he would often get into shouting matches with Ryan, the founder. After the demise of ‘Pimp My Ride,’ Mad Mike has kept himself busy with several projects.

Photo Credit: MTV

In addition to still keeping gainful employment at West Coast Customs, he has continued to cultivate a personality in the automotive world. His keen design sense is something that most people look for when it comes to creating a custom vehicle. His hands-on sense of personalization built some of the most memorable rides on TV.

Photo Credit: YouTube

15: Mad Mike – Galpin Auto Sports

Mad Mike left West Coast Customs in 2006 to work at Galpin Auto Sports. The company is well-known in the world of custom vehicles and has a well-regarded brand. As the lead shop supervisor, he has churned out some special cars. His taste is still toward the muscle cars that he grew up with but he also does modern customizations.

Photo Credit: YouTube

With the team at Galpin behind him, Mad Mike has been able to show off his work in DUB Magazine, the Sema auto show, and more. It’s safe to say that leaving the WCC shop has been one of the best employment moves for him in life. He has managed to maintain a level of success even to this day.

Photo Credit: MTV

14: Mad Mike – DRIVEN

When you have a skillset like Mad Mike does, being featured on an automotive show is a must. The TV show centers around Galpin Motor Sports which is one of the oldest car customization shops in the country. Focusing on the brand and what the mission of Galpin does is something Mad Mike takes pride in.

Photo Credit: MTV

Immediately on the show, Mad Mike was involved in several builds, such as the Pantera that Carroll Shelby had hot-rodded. The build was showcased and the show has been so popular that it has made it to a second season. The audience is hungry to see what Mad Mike’s going to cook up next.

Photo Credit: Youtube

13: Mad Mike – Extreme AutoFest

Mad Mike made an appearance at the Extreme AutoFest in Southern California as well. His automotive expertise was on display with a fairly extensive amount of custom projects. There are very few in the custom automotive business today who have the fabrication skills Mad Mike has.

Photo Credit: Youtube

The interesting thing about Mad Mike is that he can adapt from project to project. There is no one type of customization that Mike will stick to, which makes his expertise especially important. The Extreme AutoFest is one of the most well-known auto shows in the Southern California area and if you are featured there you are somebody.

Photo Credit: MTV

12: Ryan Friedlinghaus

Ryan Friedlinghaus is perhaps most well known for his role in the production of ‘Pimp My Ride.’ But the show wouldn’t have been possible with the expertise or shop of Friedlinghaus’s business, West Coast Customs. The company, which was founded using a $5000 loan from his grandfather, ended up reaching all kinds of stardom.

Photo Credit: MTV

Most celebrities and athletes have come to Friedlinghaus to have their custom car work done. There is no relationship between West Coast Choppers and West Coast Customs, but Friedlinghaus did build a custom two-door Chevy truck for Jesse James. The two companies are often compared as they’re from the same era of television.

Photo Credit: YouTube

11: Ryan Friedlinghaus – In Trouble With California

Like Xzibit, some legal issues came up for Friedlinghaus as well. It was revealed that Friedlinghaus owed the State of California $150,000. He was messing up on workers’ wages and taxable deductions. It’s not uncommon for a new business owner to run into some sort of trouble, especially considering that this business was founded out of a garage in the 1990s.

Photo Credit: West Coast Customs

Still, Friedlinghaus paid his fines and the company has managed to keep on ticking. West Coast Customs is still the premier name that you think of when it comes to custom cars. The brand is well-known for quality and the designs are some of the most forward-thinking in the industry. Although Pimp My Ride has since been canceled and you don’t see WCC on TV very much anymore.

Photo Credit: WCC

10: Ryan Friedlinghaus – Justin Beiber Rolls-Royce

Justin Beiber is part of the generation that grew up watching ‘Pimp My Ride,’ so it’s no surprise when he became famous he’d go to them to pimp his ride. Beiber had a dream and that was to have a Tron-inspired Rolls-Royce. The interesting thing about the Tron-inspired Rolls-Royce is that it doesn’t look like anything else on the market.

Photo Credit: WCC

West Coast Customs completely took the car apart and redid the design to fit in with the Tron esthetic. This was a project that put Friedlinghaus back on the map as a designer and Beiber has continued to bring cars to him ever since.

Photo Credit: YouTube

9: Ryan Friedlinghaus – Rising Star Dylan Friedlinghaus

It’s been about two decades that Friedlinghaus has been in the spotlight, and with that brings the fame of his children as well. His son Dylan has made a budding career for himself in the music business on YouTube. Dylan is part of the generation that has been able to profit off of the popular media platform.

Photo Credit: YouTube

His singles include “Outcast” and collaboration with Post Malone, “You” in 2018. With those kinds of credentials behind him, Dylan may be quite successful in the music business, or at least have his name out there for the foreseeable future.

Photo Credit: MTV

8: Ryan Friedlinghaus – Designing a Roller Coaster

With all of the notoriety Friedlinghaus has for designing vehicles, it’s no surprise that a rollercoaster would be the next project. He designed the West Coast Racers at Six Flags Magic Mountain to much fanfare. The ride has two side-by-side tracks, 14 track crossover and near misses, and zero-g stalls.

Photo Credit: MTV

This is the first amusement park ride Friedlinghaus has designed, but it just goes to show how impressive his skill set is. He can design just about anything that he puts his mind to, and if he can do it in the car business, then he can do it at a theme park.

Photo Credit: Revell

7: Ryan Friedlinghaus – Connected With The Community

After the success of the Pimp My Ride franchise just about everyone knew who Ryan Friedlinghaus was. Instead of letting the fame get to his head, he decided to build a new shop right in the heart of Burbank. This is where he grew up and he felt it would give fans a close look at what goes on behind the scenes at the shop. Friedlinghaus also wanted a shop where he can accept just about any job, no matter how big or small.

Photo Credit: Revell

The interesting thing about his rise and success is the fact that he started from almost nothing. West Coast Customs is a true success story in every sense of the word, and it started from nothing which is even more impressive.

Photo Credit: MTV

6: Quinton “Q” Dodson – From Founder to Flounder

Although most of the cast members of “Pimp My Ride” were able to find some sort of success after the show, Quinton Dodson hasn’t been able to. His life in the business world hasn’t been very successful, after all of the fame that came with “Pimp My Ride.” Q founded a couple of companies including a transportation company and a rival custom car shop that was called Coast II Coast Customz.

Photo Credit: MTV

Sadly. none of these business ventures seemed to have taken off for him, and he is still trying to build on his past fame. Starting the business with Ryan was one of the best decisions he could have ever made. Sadly the automotive business hasn’t been kind to Dodson and these days he is a shell of his former self.

Photo Credit: Pexel

5: Quinton “Q” Dodson – Road Rage Transportation

When the custom automotive business was giving him fits of rage, Dodson decided to branch out and do something else. He figured that a transportation company would be a more viable option and he founded Road Rage Transportation. The project didn’t last very long as the transportation business can be a tricky one to get into.

Photo Credit: Pexel

After this business venture floundered he decided to try a chain of headlight restoration companies. None of them seemed to have done very well, as now Dodson is trying to get back into the good graces of the automotive industry. His career and credentials are quite strong but his business acumen may not be.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

4: Jason Ewing – Sound Wave Customs

Ewing is perhaps one of the most underrated crew members featured on “Pimp My Ride.” While he wasn’t the know-it-all fabricator Mad Mike was, he had the skills needed for the audio portion of the restorations. Ewing took this expertise to the next level and started his own custom audio company specializing in this kind of work. He has since been featured at many car shows which include SEMA and more.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

Ewing is no longer part of the West Coast Customs team but he has used the notoriety to boost his careerf tremendously. Being an expert in the field of automotive audio has enabled him to create some of the most unique sets of wheels on the road.

Photo Credit: Pexel

3: 2Shea – Branching Into Artwork

2Shea is one of the most well-recognized crew members of the original West Coast Customs. The art design has a street presence that is almost unmatched, and the graffiti style became a hit with viewers. After his time with “Pimp My Ride” ended, 2Shea decided to take his work on the road, appearing at many different art galleries.

Photo Credit: Pexel

He has also been tapped for his artistic skills around the Los Angeles area, where several murals have been designed by him. Having such a strong set of artistic abilities is great for both automotive work and artwork in general. 2Shea is one of the cast members who have been able to do quite well for themselves.

Photo Credit: SEMA

2: Aren Fanning – Paint and Body Specialist

Fanning was known as being the paint and body specialist on “Pimp My Ride” and his work was highly featured. With a keen eye for color, Fanning is one of the most well-known auto body paint specialists in the industry. After the demise of “Pimp My Ride,” Fanning stayed on as a staff member at West Coast Customs. His keen eye for color made the way he designs cars a memorable one.

Photo Credit: SEMA

The skill that it takes to be able to paint and do bodywork on a custom car is not simple. Fanning is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world of custom vehicles. If you watch an episode of “Pimp My Ride,” you’ll know why. Surely Fanning will do well at whatever endeavors he takes on in the future.

Photo Credit: MTV

1: Pimp My Ride Revival?

In a recent interview, Xzibit has said that he’d be down to star in a reboot of the series. MTV hasn’t had a hit show in quite a while and having another shot at “Pimp My Ride” could be some good press for the network. Xzibit is still more popular than ever and the franchise has a lot of love with viewers who used to come home from school just to watch it.

Photo Credit: MTV

A modern revision of “Pimp My Ride” could fix many of the flaws that the original series had during its run. There were a lot of issues that centered around the fact that many of the cars were “staged” as Xzibit admitted to in later interviews. Would you enjoy a revival of “Pimp My Ride?”

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