Danny Koker is the larger-than-life star of Counting Cars, a motor renovation show set in his Las Vegas repair shop, Count’s Kustoms. He may have started with a bit-part on Pawn Stars, a reality TV show set in a high-end pawnshop, who called Koker in when they needed some assistance to value a vintage piece of automotive history.
Executives at the History Channel soon realized that Koker himself had the potential to front a show of his own, and Counting Cars made its debut in August 2012. Over the years, Koker and his team have rebuilt and renovated some classic cars – but some of the vehicles they have worked on are either beyond repair or end up being ruined because of the owner ends up making ridiculous and over-the-top demands.
Danny Koker and the team love nothing better than to try and pick up a bargain on the street, which they can then renovate and resell to make a profit. Sometimes, however, the car is beyond all hope, and the Count’s Kustoms team have to use their imagination – such as turning a battered Falcon Ranchero into a pool table.
Retro Cadillac cars are the very epitome of automotive style, and it should be impossible for any experienced car mechanic to destroy such a beautiful vehicle. Yet Koker managed to completely ruin a Cadillac Coupe he got his hands on by lowering the suspension and giving it a hideous metallic blue paint job.
Compared to a classic Cadillac Coupe, it is actually pretty hard to make a Volkswagen Dune Buggy look sophisticated. It may be a quirky vehicle, with kitsch value, but even Danny Koker and the team at Count’s Kustoms couldn’t come up with a plan that would save this particular set of wheels.
It’s difficult to criticize the botched-up job Koker and his team made of their renovation of a Chevy Silverado given that the work was done for charity, after all. However, rather than using the opportunity to get creative with their automotive canvas, the stars of Counting Cars seemed to be rather uninspired by the challenge.
Not only was the renovation of a 1976 FMC Motorhome a design disaster, but it ended up being one of the most expensive rebuilds ever seen on the show because of the major work which the vehicle needed just to get back on the road. It was the questionable interior design which ruined this vehicle, however, with enough leopard print material to cover an outing of aging divorcees.
Dating from 1927, the Ford Model T Roadster that Danny Koker got his hands on during the first season of the show should have been treated with respect. It is, after all, a true piece of automotive history. Instead, Count’s Kustoms souped-up the car, adding two Ford racing engines on top of the hood.
There are not many motor renovation shows that would even try to make a hearse look like a stylish vehicle. But Danny Koker has always been a little different, and he at least deserves some credit for attempting this unusual project – even of the end result looked like something out of The Addams Family rather than a car that anyone normal would want to drive.
Lincoln is the luxury division of Ford, and they have always been proud of the stylish and sophisticated vehicles that they make. Rather than sticking to this theme, Danny Koker and the team at Count’s Kustoms took a very different approach when they found themselves working on a 1977 Lincoln Continental, giving it a tacky silver and red paint job with matching wheels.
The customer is always right – even when the customer asks you to paint a classic 1960s Chevy Impala in bubble-gum pink. It must have torn Danny’s heart apart to see such a gorgeous car destroyed – and the worst of it was that the car was supposed to be a present for the client’s girlfriend, but they broke up before he could give her the vehicle.
To be fair to Danny Koker and his team, the Count’s Kustoms boys did the best they could with the Sebring Vanguard Citicar, a miniature electric car which was only in production between 1974 and 1977. Why a bunch of petrolheads even took on such a project is a mystery, but the end result was not a great success.
Not all of the Counting Cars projects have been disasters. Some classic cars, which had seen better days, have been given a new lease of life thanks to Danny Koker and his team. Their renovation of a 1970s-era Chevrolet Monte Carlo managed to retain the best of the vehicle’s original styling while bringing it into the 21st century.
The boys at Count’s Kustoms do seem to love a good old-fashioned muscle car, so it is hardly surprising that some of their most successful renovations have been in this category. When they got their hands on a 1968 Dodge Charger, Koker and his team knew that they needed no bells and whistles to make this car a success, and just kept things simple and stylish.
If there is one car that has featured most frequently on Counting Cars, it would probably be the Ford Mustang – and each one has left Count’s Kustoms with its own original style. The 1967 Ford Mustang which was featured in season three is probably one of the best, thanks to its eye-catching orange and burnt sienna paint job.
Oldsmobile may be no more as a car manufacturing company, but their older vehicles are still very much in demand as classic cars. In fact, the Oldsmobile Cutlass was an innovative mix of muscle car and roadster, and when Danny Koker got the chance to give one a makeover, he made sure he did an amazing job, complete with a custom gold paint job.
In the fourth season of Counting Cars, Danny Koker and his team got their hands on another American classic; the Buick Riviera. This 1970s beauty was turned into a work of art, thanks to its lowered suspension, chrome fixtures and fittings and the actual custom work of art which the team painted onto the bodywork of the Riviera.
We have already seen how the team got one Lincoln Continental renovation very badly wrong when they gave a 1977 model a tacky custom paint job, but they more than redeemed themselves when they took on an earlier model from 1963, which rolled out of the shop with an understated but classy black paint job.
The Chevrolet C/K is one of the earliest pickup models, and the base for many of Chevy’s current trucks, so it must have been a real pleasure for the petrolheads at Count’s Kustoms to get the chance to renovate a model from 1986. They even managed to make this rather dated vehicle look modern and stylish; no mean feat for a pickup!
Ford Mustangs were frequent guests at Count’s Kustoms, but one of the most special was a GT Fastback model from 1968. It was the same model as the car driven by Steve McQueen in iconic film Bullit – although not the actual car itself as that would have been worth millions of dollars!
The Dodge Coronet may not be as famous as the Charger, but thus 1970s muscle car was just as stylish and powerful. The Count’s Kustoms team gave this iconic vehicle a subtle purple paint job, as well as decking out the interior in white leather, to retain some of that familiar 1970s style.
Danny Koker really allowed his imagination to take flight when he got the chance to work on a Chevrolet Camaro Z28 from 1979. The car, which had definitely seen better days, was entirely rebuilt and completely renovated, with an eye-catching custom paint job featuring orange flames on a red background.
Sources: Count Kustoms, Cinema Blend, Green Car Reports, Double Trouble Hotrod