At the heart of ‘Pimp My Ride’ was more than just an ambitious promise to transform cars; it was about the unique characters who made those automotive dreams a reality. It first premiered in 2004 on MTV with the charismatic Xzibit as the host, and gave us an inside look into the world of car customization. With a combination of humor, heartwarming stories, and jaw-dropping makeovers, the show isn’t just about the cars, but more about the people and their stories. From installing fish tanks to chandeliers, no request was too outlandish for the talented crew.
In its initial seasons, the show took place at West Coast Customs, showcasing the talents of the likes of the genial manager Quinton Q Dodson, the hands-on owner Ryan Friedlinghaus, tire guru Alex, fabric master Ishmael Ish Jimenez, engineering whiz Michael Mad Mike Martin, accessory aficionado Big Dane, and a team of proficient painters including Aren, Buck, 2Shae, and Luis. But as seasons progressed, changes were afoot: Dodson left to explore new ventures, and by season 5, the focus shifted from WCC to Galpin Auto Sports. Here, the ensemble featured the dynamic Beau Boeckmann, the returning Mad Mike, experts like Jason Ewing and Gyasi, the dedicated Luis, Diggity Dave, Rick, Cabe Sipes, and Shop crew Z.
Over six seasons until its conclusion in 2007, the show invited a plethora of memorable guests, from everyday people with heartfelt tales to celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger making surprise appearances. The true magic, though, lay in the hands of the cast — the crew that turned automotive dreams into reality. Through controversies, shifts, and countless impressive makeovers, the cast members left an indelible mark on fans. With so many memorable personalities, one can’t help but wonder — where are they now? Let’s delve into the lives of these cast members and uncover what they’ve been up to post their ‘Pimp My Ride’ journey.
Where is Ryan Friedlinghaus Now?
Ryan Friedlinghaus has been on quite a journey since the curtains closed on that MTV show. Ryan is still the owner and CEO of West Coast Customs. Ryan has also launched an academy to nurture the next generation of car customization enthusiasts. Unlike MTV’s format where cars are built for chosen participants, ‘Street Customs’ delves into the ongoing customizations commissioned by WCC’s clients.
Ryan encapsulated the essence of the show when he remarked that he wanted to build cars on TV, not for TV. As the show progressed, it evolved from spotlighting individual car enthusiasts to catering to elite celebrities and globally recognized brands. Names such as Carroll Shelby, Shaquille O’Neal, the royal family of Dubai, and Justin Bieber all feature in its extensive clientele list, along with brands like Chronic Tacos and Vans.
However, success often comes with its set of challenges. The economic downturn due to the 2008 financial crisis led him to make tough decisions, laying off half of WCC’s workforce and navigating a market shift from new car customizations to repairs on used cars. In 2010, their designs graced the silver screen when they customized three 1955 Ford F-100 trucks for the film ‘The Expendables’. They even crafted a bespoke vehicle for the blockbuster ‘Mad Max: Fury Road‘ in 2015.
The landscape of Ryan’s television career also underwent changes. ‘Street Customs’ metamorphosed into ‘Inside West Coast Customs’. A noteworthy incident from this period was a controversial publicity stunt orchestrated with rapper will.i.am in 2012, in which will.i.am’s DeLorean, customized by WCC at a cost of $700,000, was stolen. In 2017, the television show made its return to Velocity, getting renewed in early 2018.
However, with recognition comes scrutiny. Reports have surfaced concerning underpayment issues at WCC. In 2014, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found WCC in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act for not paying proper wages and maintaining records. Faced with legal action, Friedlinghaus opted to pay a fine totaling $174,422, covering back wages and penalties. Following the settlement, it was confirmed that WCC corrected its violations and is now compliant. Despite these controversies, Ryan lives happily in California with his wife Meagan Friedlinghaus. He and his wife are parents to two sons — Dylan Friedlinghaus and Ryan Friedlinghaus Jr.
Where is Quinton Q Dodson Now?
As the sales manager for West Coast Customs, Quinton was integral to both the show and the workshop’s operations. His camaraderie with Ryan Friedlinghaus, the genius behind WCC, captivated viewers. But as three seasons rolled by, Dodson felt it was time to shift gears and explore new horizons. His path post ‘Pimp My Ride’ illustrates a relentless pursuit of passion, irrespective of the domain.
After leaving the television limelight, Q made a detour into the realm of media by setting up Qarz Productions in New Orleans, focusing on television and film productions. The venture marked his initial foray into a space distinct from automobiles, yet, it showcased his versatility as an entrepreneur. However, the siren call of the automobile world was inescapable. Q’s stint with Galpin Auto Sports, although brief, was noteworthy. Here, he further honed his skills in the niche domain of VIP sales, forging valuable relations across the industry. Simultaneously, he pursued his passion project – the Q Venom. This ambitious endeavor aimed at transforming a 2013 Shelby Super Snake into a beastly spectacle with a slew of custom upgrades.
A significant turn in his journey was his association with Trion SuperCars in Las Vegas. Taking on the mantle of Technical Facilities Manager, Dodson embraced emerging technologies, from 3D Printing to advanced electrical machines, ensuring that the supercars rolling out were nothing short of masterpieces. In his most recent endeavor, Dodson co-founded HR Headlight Restoration, reflecting his constant drive to innovate in the automotive sector. This initiative, although not as glamorous as customizing luxury cars, resonates with his core belief in pragmatic solutions to everyday problems. Now, Quinton leads a contented life in Los Angeles with his wife and son.