Pimp My Ride is back: First look at 1966 VW Beetle renovation


Not for nothing is the classic Volkswagen Beetle known as the Love Bug.

The Hollywood movie series about Herbie the magical car and the cupid spells it casts on its human owners and friends, may have sent many hearts aflutter.

Closer to home Gloucester couple Jake McLarney, 26, and Emma Brookes, 27, fell under the spell of their very own 56-year-old Beetle from the Swinging Sixties, and have just enjoyed seeing it completely revamped as part of the return of one of the noughties biggest motoring entertainment shows, Pimp My Ride.

Pimp My Ride returns: The noughties hit show returns after a 15 hiatus. One episode features loved up couple Jake and Emma and their 1966 VW love bug - and ends in a marriage proposal

Pimp My Ride returns: The noughties hit show returns after a 15 hiatus. One episode features loved up couple Jake and Emma and their 1966 VW love bug – and ends in a marriage proposal

Such was his excitement to see their pride and joy unveiled, when the covers came off it prompted Jake to propose to Emma there and then.

Practical Jake is a joiner who creates everything from benches and staircases to bookshelves and windows. Emma is a support worker for adults with autism.

The pair met as friends seven years ago when Jake was competing in a BMX bike competition, becoming a formal couple five years ago, and have a rescue cocker spaniel called Bramble.

Jake admitted he had always regretted selling his first 1973 Beetle bought for a song in his youth. Emma even bought him the Love Bug boxed set of movies.

They got their 1966 Volkswagen Beetle around three years ago after spotting it for sale online for around £7,000, but doing a direct swap for their existing VW T5 camper van, which they’d used for travelling, after moving into a flat. It was their daily runner for a while but eventually became in need of TLC.

The chance to revive their much loved car came when the producers of the returning TV programme spotted Emma’s filmed postings of the car on social media’s TikTok channel and got in touch.

Pimp My Ride, which debuted on MTV in 2004 and ran for six seasons until 2007 with host, rapper Xzibit, at the helm shot to popularity – and raised the name of West Coast Customs, which was in charge of modifying the motors.

It also spawned a UK version between 2005 and 2007.

In 2022, it makes a long-awaiting return – though not on our televisions per se. 

Jake and Emma got their 1966 Volkswagen Beetle around three years ago after spotting it for sale online for around £7,000. But it was in desperate need of some TLC...

Jake and Emma got their 1966 Volkswagen Beetle around three years ago after spotting it for sale online for around £7,000. But it was in desperate need of some TLC…

MTV's Pimp My Ride will feature the car in one of its new YouTube episodes, where the VW gets a full makeover

MTV’s Pimp My Ride will feature the car in one of its new YouTube episodes, where the VW gets a full makeover 

The car's bodywork was stripped back to the bare metal, before damaged panels were straightened. The original paintwork was replaced with a Midnight Purple metallic finish

The car’s bodywork was stripped back to the bare metal, before damaged panels were straightened. The original paintwork was replaced with a Midnight Purple metallic finish

Airing on 2 September, the Beetle love story is one of a six-part revamped Pimp My Ride series from next Friday 19 August on MTV UK’s YouTube channel in conjunction with eBay.

Its parts and accessories department sells a car part every second through its network of 40,000 traders, garages, manufacturers’ shops, aftermarket brands and retailers, catering to professionals, enthusiasts and a growing army DIY motorists looking to save money – making it the biggest online marketplace for car parts and accessories in the UK.

Modifications were carried out by specialists at Wrench Studios near Sunbury on Thames in Middlesex.

When asked if they wanted to appear on the show, Emma said they agreed on the spot: ‘We were gobsmacked. Speechless,’ she explained.

‘I hoped they wouldn’t go too over the top. And they haven’t’.

Emma said: ‘Just after the car was unveiled, he got down on one knee and proposed. Of course I said yes.’

It will also be having a starring role at their wedding, they said.

Such was his excitement to see their pride and joy unveiled, when the covers came off it prompted Jake to propose to Emma there and then

Such was his excitement to see their pride and joy unveiled, when the covers came off it prompted Jake to propose to Emma there and then

The car’s bodywork was stripped back to the bare metal, before damaged panels were straightened and rust removed.

The original paintwork was replaced with a Midnight Purple metallic paint finish – a colour chosen as a compromise between Jake’s wish for black and Emma’s for purple.

Old alloy wheels were ditched in favour of white ‘Smoothies’, headlamps were replaced with cutting edge LED projector units.

The VW’s bonnet now hinges forward to reveal a screen on its underside and a projector hidden in the bulkhead – allowing the pair to watch their favourite films from the rejuvenated front seats.

Also added is an advanced, variable height air-ride suspension system which can be manually controlled using switches hidden in the glovebox and a bespoke wooden roof rack designed to carry Jake’s beloved BMX bike.

With the cost of living crisis biting, an eBay study of 1,919 parts and accessories buyers in the UK this year found two thirds (69 per cent) were planning to fit parts themselves – compared to 2015 when it was just over half (52per cent).

Modifications were carried out by specialists at Wrench Studios near Sunbury on Thames in Middlesex

Modifications were carried out by specialists at Wrench Studios near Sunbury on Thames in Middlesex

The revamped series is presented by rap artist Lady Leshurr (pictured), who is from Birmingham

The revamped series is presented by rap artist Lady Leshurr (pictured), who is from Birmingham

Meet the people carrying out the pimped-up renovations 

Hamid Iqbal, who along with brother Ray set up Wrench Studios, said: ‘We grew up watching Pimp My Ride. 

‘Doing jobs on our own cars on the driveway is what got us into custom work and modifying. 

He added: ‘More and more people are doing jobs on vehicles themselves now and, like many of them, we use eBay to source parts, so it was natural for us to get involved in the new series. 

Six episodes will make up the new MTV YouTube series, which is sponsored by ebay

Six episodes will make up the new MTV YouTube series, which is sponsored by ebay

‘It’s been 15 years since it was last on air and we’re going to make sure it lives up to expectations.’

The revamped series is presented by rap artist Lady Leshurr from Birmingham, who is known for her fiery freestyles and explosive live performances with witty lyrics and high driven energy. 

 

Other cars being modified include a ‘Fast & Furious-inspired 1992 Mitsubishi GTO’.

The programmes will also highlight ‘green’ pre-loved parts from eBay’s Certified Recycled Hub.  

A spokesman said: ‘eBay is not only a go-to for trade professionals and car enthusiasts as a reliable source of regular and rare parts, it is also the destination for an ever-increasing number of amateur DIYers choosing to pimp their own rides.’

As motorists look to cut costs by doing more DIY, an eBay study of 1,919 parts and accessories buyers in the UK this year found two thirds (69 per cent) were planning to fit parts themselves – compared to 2015 when it was just over half (52per cent).

Dr Tony Tong, head of automotive at eBay UK said: ‘With a car part sold every second on the marketplace, eBay helps millions of motorists improve their vehicles every year.

‘That’s why we’re delighted to be inspiring a new generation of DIY motor enthusiasts to experiment with cost effective, ‘greener’ car parts.’

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