It’s Going to Be a Bumpy Ride: What You Don’t See on Counting Cars

Not many reality shows on The History Channel have become as popular as Counting Cars. The show immediately attracted car enthusiasts, but other folks started tuning in because the show provides incredible entertainment for non-car lovers too. It’s a beautiful combination of fantastic cars, skilled mechanic work, and some engaging drama that keeps viewers hooked. It really is the perfect storm for a successful show.

Kevin Mack, Danny Koker, Horny Mike, and Scott Smith posing together in front of a custom hot rod
Photo by Leftfield / Kobal / Shutterstock

With some serious and emotional moments, Counting Cars managed to capture the hearts of America to become incredibly popular. But as reality shows go, there is more to the show than what producers and editors care to show. There are a lot of scenes that are fabricated and even scripted, as well as things that may seem fake but are actually real.

Fasten your seatbelt because today we are taking a deep look into The History Channel’s hit reality show Counting Cars. Get ready to shift gears and see what’s real and what’s fake.

The Lawsuit Against Frontier

Joseph Frontier drew a ton of attention, thanks to the infamous lawsuit against him. He was all over the headlines, and the media paid close attention to all the details so that they could report on how things were breaking down. Basically, Count’s Kustoms decided to sue their former employee after he apparently stole money from them for his own personal benefit.

Joseph Frontier sitting on a custom bike
Source: Pinterest

They also sued the company who recommended Frontier in the first place, further proving how serious Count’s Kustoms was about the situation. They appeared to come in strong. However, Frontier had great representation, and his lawyer filed to dismiss the case. The suit against the other company also fell through.

Rivalry with a Rock Star

Danny Koker was able to turn his 15 minutes of fame into celebrity status thanks to the major success of Counting Cars. He made his way into the Hollywood circle and, naturally, made friends with fellow celebs. Many of his pals even appeared on the show and helped it gain popularity. However, he didn’t get along with everyone.

Vince Neil and Danny Koker embracing next to a photograph of them posing on a motorcycle
Source: Twitter

Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil had a major fallout with Koker. Reportedly, Neil was apprehended by the law quite a few times, and Koker’s co-workers expressed concern. They were worried that being spotted with him would hurt the company’s image, so they went their separate ways and aren’t friends anymore. Sounds like a quick, easy break.

The Filming Isn’t Chronological

It probably doesn’t come as a shock to find out Counting Cars isn’t exactly filmed in chronological order, simply because many of the episodes were filmed in a short amount of time. The team had so many projects going on at once, so it only made sense to film different parts as they progressed, instead of waiting for one car to be finished before moving to the next one.

Horny Mike and Danny Koker sitting in a small car together
Photo by Leftfield / Kobal / Shutterstock

The team could have been working on 15 different cars at a time, which shows how chaotic things probably were in the garage. But with the incredible power of editing, everything looks perfect on screen for viewers to enjoy. Ah! The magic of television.

Thank You Pawn Stars

If you are a big fan of the show, you probably already know this one: Counting Cars only exists because of Pawn Stars. It was crucial for the show, and its popularity helped get Counting Cars the attention and success it earned. The obvious connection is that Danny Koker was featured on both shows.

Danny Koker leaning on a red car
Photo by Leftfield / Kobal / Shutterstock

He clearly has a bigger role in Counting Cars, but he only got his show because of his appearances on several Pawn Stars episodes. After getting to know Koker, the History Channel wanted to create a show about his auto shop because they saw his ability to entertain carry his own show. The History Channel execs must have great intuition because they made the right choice.

Background Stories About the Cars

One of the most intriguing parts about Counting Cars is the backstory that comes with each car. There are so many interesting stories about how the car was found and how the team fixed it up. The best part is the little historical details that are included. But apparently, they were almost always faked by the editors to make the show more exciting and add a little something to get viewers to invest in each car a little more.

Danny and Kevin standing in front of a car that is purple with green flames and says Counts Kustoms on it
Source: Pinterest

They certainly did use their talent and restored each and every car that came into their garage, but some of the details behind them were fabricated. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it. I mean, do you really think they happened to come across so many abandoned vehicles with a historically detailed past?

Selling Their Own Cars

There are plenty of benefits that come with fame and fortune. While that is true about the Counting Cars cast, they also experienced the downside of being so talented. A big negative is that they have a hard time selling their own cars. Koker admitted that it’s extremely difficult for him to sell his own cars because of how sentimental they are to him.

Danny Koker and Scott Smith looking at a royal blue Pontiac GTO convertible
Photo by Leftfield / Kobal / Shutterstock

He explained that he becomes attached to the cars he works on, and that’s why he finds it so hard to drop everything and sell them. He puts so much time and effort into these cars and feels like he gives a piece of himself to each car, so I can completely understand how tough it must be to sell them.

Building a Timeline

As we previously mentioned, Counting Cars was not filmed in chronological order due to editing reasons. But the actual timelines of the cars that were built on television weren’t even close to accurate. They would fast forward like crazy from the start of the process to show how the work took place. It often looked like a car was done a lot faster than it actually was.

Danny Koker and Kevin Mack looking at a car together
Photo by Leftfield / Kobal / Shutterstock

Since the show wasn’t filmed chronologically (to help the editing department), it meant that the team couldn’t focus on finishing one car right away. There were way too many cars being worked on at the same time.

Eco-Friendly Green Cars

Nowadays, the world is becoming more and more environmentally friendly in all aspects of life, including cars. Many vehicles are now going “‘green” in order to save the planet. One of the most popular cars is the Toyota Prius for this reason. Even celebrities choose cars that are better for the environment, but not Danny Koker.

A smart car built up with new fancy rims and a green paint job with a blue monster on it
Source: Instagram

He made it extremely clear that he isn’t a fan of these new modern “green” vehicles. The biggest reason he doesn’t like them is because they don’t have any power, which is what Koker wants from his cars. He questions why these eco-conscious cars are such a big deal anyway.

Scott Jones’ Conspiracy Theories

One of the key focus points of Seasons one and two of Counting Cars was Scott Jones. He worked for Count’s Kustoms as a manager and bookkeeper, which is why viewers were quite surprised when he left the show in Season three. Speculation quickly led to online theories; one claimed that he was fired for stealing a little cash.

Scott Jones standing with his arms crossed in front of a royal blue car hood
Source: Pinterest

Other theories suggest he was tired of being on camera and simply quit. However, there was no definite reason given for why he left, so all these theories are completely fake. What actually happened was that Jones wanted to be his own boss, so he moved to the South and opened up his own garage.

Count’s 77 Is an Official Touring Band

The most fabricated element of the show seems to be Danny Koker claiming that he is in a rock band. Many viewers believe that this backstory is to add a little drama and excitement, but, as it turns out, it’s actually true. Count’s 77 is a legit band that goes on tour, makes music videos, and plays live concerts for paying crowds.

Barry Barnes, Stoney Kurtis, Danny Koker, John Zito, Paul DiSibio, and Tommy Paris of Count’s 77 posing on the red carpet
Photo by Erik Pendzich / Shutterstock

Danny is usually busy with his car work, but he always makes time for his other passion – music. It may surprise you to find out that Koker is actually the lead singer of Count’s 77. He can often be spotted in the Las Vegas music scene. I think it’s safe to say he has had way more success in his car career.

Buying Cars on the Street

We know the cars’ backstories are often fabricated, but that’s not the only thing on the show that’s staged. Reality shows love to stage certain scenarios in order to make more drama, which is great for TV and gives viewers a reason to tune in. But think about it. Do you really think that a stranger would speak to a random person on the street and then hand over a wad of cash for a car?

Source: Instagram

The entire idea is far-fetched and is perhaps the fakest component of the show. The way it actually works: The people are approached off-camera and asked if they are okay with being on TV. Then, they agree on a script to make everything look as natural as possible for viewers at home.

Bad Reviews

When you take a look at the amazing work that the Count’s Kustoms team achieves, you would assume that everyone who gets car work done by them would be incredibly happy customers. But, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Just like every single business out there, there are always going to be problems, mistakes, or things that don’t go right.

Shannon Aikau and Danny Koker posing with a motorcycle on the red carpet
Photo by Mediapunch / Shutterstock

Every once and a while, the company actually receives some negative reviews online. One particular review claimed that a staff member was rude, and another stated that the shop was in a sketchy area of town. Clearly, they don’t put much thought into the negativity. They seem to understand that some people are trolls and like to write negative reviews just for the sake of it.

The Whole Crew

As with any reality show, there is always a lot more going on that viewers don’t get to see. Counting Cars is no exception. There are plenty of times that the show highlights certain situations while casually glossing over other elements. One of the biggest lies was the actual size of the crew inside Count’s Kustoms.

Horny Mike, Kevin Mack, Danny Koker, and Scott Smith posing in front of a car
Photo by Leftfield / Kobal / Shutterstock

While the familiar faces are getting their hands greasy, the truth is that the crew is much larger than the show leads on. It would be nearly impossible for just the team that appears on screen to get the work done as quickly as they do. There are plenty of people working just as hard on the cars but don’t get any air time.

The Stolen Trailer

The shop’s detailer, and a valued member of the team, is Roli Szabo. He is a fan favorite. His job is to clean up all the vehicles before they leave the shop, and he often receives high praise for his work ethic. That is why it was particularly sad when a specially-made trailer was snatched from Mango’s Beach Bar in Las Vegas, with all his equipment inside.

Danny Koker and Roli Szabo looking at an old red car
Danny Koker and Roli Szabo. Photo by Leftfield / Kobal / Shutterstock

It was clear that the trailer was stolen so that the thief could sell it in parts. Roli’s name and face were on the side of the vehicle, so some greedy people probably knew that there would be some expensive items inside. Sadly, he was likely targeted.

All the Drama

In the reality show world, it’s not rare for producers to constantly do everything possible to add some drama to the show. Who could blame them? That’s how you keep fans hooked and keep them coming back for more. Without drama, reality shows would be extremely mundane, and no one would care to watch.

A red and blue car parked in a lot with people standing around it
Source: Reddit

So, naturally, the vast majority of the drama between the crew is usually overplayed and forced. Most of the time, the people involved are even-handed scripts or told which scenarios to play out. Meanwhile, the editors do a great job, making it look as realistic as possible. That’s actually kind of reassuring. I mean, who would even want to work there if there was actually that much drama.

Bringing Families Together

You might assume that something like a car can really tear a family apart, but, thankfully, that’s not what happened on the show. Strangely, this might be one of the truest stories on Counting Cars. Danny was looking for a car that belonged to Barry White to give as a gift to his wife, who really wanted it back for sentimental reasons.

The 1979 Stutz sitting in the counting cars parking lot
Source: Pinterest

While filming the pilot, the team somehow found the 1979 Stutz and bought it. Glodean was brought to tears when she found out that they had purchased it, and Danny admitted they paid too much for it. On Episode 12, they worked to restore the car and presented it to Glodean, who couldn’t have been happier. It was a pretty emotional moment.

Deals Get Tougher

We already explained that deals don’t happen on the street in the spur of the moment like the show makes it seem. But that doesn’t mean the deals aren’t real. Every car is legitimately bought, and they always agree on a fair deal. Still, the show built a reputation. Smarter viewers saw the opportunity to make a little extra cash, especially if they owned something special.

Danny Koker leaning down and inspecting the front of a teel car
Photo by Leftfield / Kobal / Shutterstock

However, this made it more difficult for Koker and his crew to make deals. People know that they make a lot of money being on a popular TV show, so once they are recognized, the deal quickly goes from fair to unfair because the sellers obviously want to get as much money as they can for their cars. The irony.

His Dad’s Cars

Even if you’re a big fan of the show, you may not know how close Danny Koker was with his father. The two shared an extremely strong relationship until the elder Koker passed away way too soon back in 2008. The tragedy hit Danny extremely hard because they were family, best friends, and business partners.

A purple car and others sitting around a parking lot
Source: YouTube

He revealed that afterward, he had to stay busy to stay distracted and keep his mind from wandering. However, he has never been able to bring himself to work on his dad’s cars because they are way too personal and sentimental. He keeps his father’s cars in storage and doesn’t touch them.

Factual Mistakes

With a show that is completely based around cars and supposed car experts, you would think that Counting Cars would provide factual information about the vehicles on the show. I mean, it is literally a company of people highly involved with cars and should know the details of the automotive world.

Danny Koker standing underneath the frame of a car which is lifted into the air
Photo by Leftfield / Kobal / Shutterstock

But, many car enthusiasts weren’t shy about pointing out mistakes that were made by Danny Koker by sharing them online. Obviously, the errors are harmless and unintentional; but, still, you would assume that the crew has a fact-checker to make sure everything is factual. But, at the end of the day, everyone is human, and we all make mistakes—even experts.

Each and Every Car Gets Restored

It probably seems obvious that every car on the show gets restored – because that is literally the premise of the show – but when it comes to reality shows, it’s difficult to distinguish what is real from what is fake. Well, fans of the show will be pleased to find out that the actual restorations of the cars are 100% real.

Danny Koker, Kevin Mack, and Horny Mike posing in front of a red Cadillac
Photo by Leftfield / Kobal / Shutterstock

Every single car the group purchases gets fully restored, so that part is certainly accurate. While there have been reports that Counting Cars has faked a few of the car’s restorations, that is not the case. The group is just extremely talented and hardworking.

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