EW Staff
June 25, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

MUSTWORTHINESS Ryan Friedlinghaus and his Inglewood, Calif., auto-blingage garage — clients include Shaq, 50 Cent, and host Xzibit — have turned MTV’s ”Pimp My Ride” into the most off-the-chain makeover show on the dial.
CAREER HIGH ”When Mattel said they wanted to do a toy deal. To have your own Hot Wheels is a really, really big thing.”
TOUGHEST PIMP The 1988 Daihatsu HiJet from episode 1. ”It was real scary because we had just signed our deal with MTV. I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, what did I get my guys into?’ The state of the car was just beyond trash. We pretty much touched everything, from the suspension to the wheels and tires to the interior to the bodywork and the paint… And to be able to put 17-inch wheels on a little golf-cart-looking van was pretty crazy, too.”
PRICIEST PIMP The 1981 Pontiac Trans Am from episode 8 was blessed with $30,000 in improvements, including a laptop computer built into the glove compartment, an espresso machine in the front-seat armrest, and a mini-chandelier.
TOTALLY TRICKED-OUT RIDE WITH CRAPPY ENGINE OR A BASIC UGLY ONE THAT RUNS ABSOLUTELY PERFECTLY? ”Something totally tricked-out, of course. Can’t be driving something stock.”
NEXT Season 2 of Pimp in September.

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