MTV pimped my ride

THIS campervan of love has gone from rusty banger to a blingin' fantasy, for hit tv show Pimp My Ride UK. Features editor TRACEY SPARLING reveals the story of the Ipswich family heirloom.

By Tracey Sparling

THIS campervan of love has gone from rusty banger to a blingin' fantasy, for hit tv show Pimp My Ride UK. Features editor TRACEY SPARLING reveals the story of the Ipswich family heirloom.

IPSWICH student Zoe Waller is today looking forward to a summer cruising in her campervan of love which has been transformed from a hunk of junk to gleaming gold,.

When the 22-year-old from Martlesham Heath emailed MTV show Pimp My Ride UK, she never dreamed her 1969 rusting grey van would be chosen from 20,000 applicants for the most extreme of makeovers.

She said: “It was a complete mish-mash, covered in primer and hammerite and painted cream and red on the front. My dad gave it to me about a year ago and I started to do the restoration work, until I realised I couldn't do it myself.

“I'd been watching Pimp My Ride and I sent off an email saying 'hey look at my van, look how crap it is! . They were quite keen from the start when they heard our family story.”

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Her late granddad bought the split screen Transporter Kombi back in 1970. In time he passed to Zoe's dad, and then to her. He gave it to her on the condition that she never sold it. The story goes that she was conceived in the van, and Zoe laughed: “My parents used to go camping in it a lot, but I didn't put two and two together until the MTV people suggested 'wouldn't it be fantastic if…?'

“It might have happened that way, it might not. My dad said it was possible, and like he said: 'It must have happened somewhere!'”

The van was stripped inside and out, and crafted by the 'pimptastic crew' led by Jamie Shaw at Carisma Automative Design in Colchester. The team has become heroes in national car fan circles, as they perform makeover miracles - gearing each car to their owner's lifestyle - complete with elaborate decorative designs and state-of-the-art sound systems.

Zoe said: “When I saw the results, I was just in complete shock. The tv producers had pulled a cover over it but I could see through the material, I could see the outline and knew the pop-up roof had gone - and that was a relief.”

She revealed: “When they filmed it I was made to fake my reaction seven times, before I actually saw the van. By the time I saw it, I was just like 'oh…my…God,” so it was a good thing that I had practised my reaction beforehand. I was really pleased.

“I walked round it to see from different angles, but it was only when I got it out of the garage that I could see the layers of paint and how it really sparkles.

“On the way back from the garage I stopped at Copdock to get something to eat, before driving to show my family the van. I was just standing there looking at sparkling in the sun. People were driving past and looking at the champagne colour was just luminous - if it had been any other colour it wouldn't have been so spectacular.”

She added: “My granddad died nine years ago and I think he would be impressed by how the van looks now. He was always fairly laid back and I think he'd be pleased, and be happy that I'm still enthusiastic about it.”

Zoe is studying for a PhD at Cambridge University, and usually takes the train, but returns home most weekends to be with her fiancé. She said: “The van is more of a pet, than an everyday vehicle, and I am looking forward to driving it this summer and going to festivals like Vanfest.”

Zoe was one of ten vehicle owners were filmed for the new series of Pimp My Ride UK and hip hop DJ Tim Westwood said the cars included some of the show's toughest challenges to date; including a wreck reclaimed from a scrap heap, a Nissan Sunny and the 'campervan of love.'

He said: "We're gettin' crazy with the cars. Creative customisation to the extreme - this is straight fantasy pimpin'. And I'm havin' the time of my life! Holla!"

But there was one moment when Zoe's heart sank. She admitted: “On a really windy day, the door was whipped out of my hand and the paintwork was damaged. It has happened before, but because the van had been so perfect I couldn't bear to see it like that - I booked it straight in to be repaired.”

Let's hope they can match the colour!

N

Pimp My Ride is on Sundays at 10pm, on MTV. Zoe's episode will be screened this Sunday

It can also be seen at www.mtv.co.uk/mtvuk/shows/pimpmyride2 immediately after the screening.

Pimp My Ride has a growing list of celebrity fans, including:

Wyclef - who owns a hummer with a shark tank in the back

Missy Elliot - who has a matching pair of Lamborghini Murcielagos in lime green and orange

Madonna - in the programme Pimp Madonna's Ride, her white transit van was turned into a disco diva's paradise to star in her video 'Sorry'.

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