Counting Cars is a great show. Initially, there was a contract for 26 episodes, 13 of which were optional. Danny was excited to have the opportunity. Fast forward to 2018, and you see the show has produced 136 episodes and has spanned seven seasons. It’s going stronger than ever, and Danny, who had been excited just about the recognition that his shop would get, is now a full-blown celebrity (reviewjournal.com).
The show does a lot of restorations and takes jalopies to make them into high-performing, powerful and beautiful cars. It requires some money to convert dinghies into something worthwhile, but more importantly, it requires experience that his team has.
Sometimes they do a little more than just restoring dying cars. For instance, there was one episode where the team helped motorcyclist. The guy was a big motorcycle fan, but the lower extremities were not having it, as he was paralyzed from the waist down after a gun incident. Well, combining their talents, they customized a motorcycle that the guy could operate from the sidecar (lasvegasweekly.com). That’s a little more than just turning clunkers into slick cars, although that in itself is a commendable deed.
So far Danny has more than 70 restored motorcycles and 50 cars for himself. It’s not uncommon for his crew members to own several cars either. Even if the show ends, the shop and work will continue.
So let’s dive in!
17 Danny's A Rock Singer
This one kind of ties in with another entry here, but not entirely, thus the need for this separate entry. These guys are really busy. Like, Danny works from the morning until 7 or 8 in the night and then sometimes even on the weekends. Now, if you have experience with someone who runs a business, you probably already questioned the “hard-working” nature of Danny, as most of such people also work during the weekends. But Danny is not limited to owning Count’s Kustoms. He also takes care of Count’s Tattoo Company, the rock club Count’s Vamp’d and the recording studio Desert Moon.
Oh plus, he’s the lead singer of a band. There you go, he’s busy on the weekends too.
So, how does the business come into play? Well, the show is doing exceptionally well, and Danny gets various offers. Here’s Danny explaining that: “We’re in 160 countries around the world right now. We’re translated into I don’t know how many languages. … At least once a week, somebody contacts us here to talk to me about doing a Count’s Kustoms (franchise) in India. It blows my mind” (reviewjournal.com). That’d be a successful gig in developing countries, where passion is amorphous and looking for guidance.
16 STREET-BUYING IS STAGED
Imagine this: You have an old classic car parked in your driveway. Let’s say it’s a 1974 Ford T-Bird. To spice things up, here are some details about the history of this car from cargurus.com: “When it came to luxury, though, the '74 Thunderbird was a classic of seventies style. Inside the roomy cabin, the decor had a touch of class, with wood-veneer accents and plenty of chrome. It might look charmingly retro today, but at the time, it was the essence of upscale comfort. Engine-wise, the '74 Ford Thunderbird was still true to its roots as a performance car, shipping off the line with a 460 cubic inch, 7.5-liter Lincoln V8.”
Your car looks like it’s in a decent shape. You’re working on your lawn, and all of a sudden, this van pulls over, and the people from the van come out and introduce themselves to you. “Weird,” you think. And that’s only if you hadn’t freaked out enough to tell them to get off your property right now. They start asking questions about the car, and then just say they’d like to buy this baby of yours. “Am I dreaming?” you think.
You probably are. Most of the incidents of buying cars randomly from the streets are scripted on the show.
15 FACTUAL ERRORS HAPPEN ON THE SHOW
So Danny is the main guy. He’s supposed to know everything about cars, much like Jeremy Clarkson, and the audience expects all that. He’s the head guy who leads the show, makes the deals and leads the shop. However, sometimes even he makes mistakes. If you watch the show, you can tell he has great insights and deep understanding of cars and motorcycles, but once in a while, things slip up.
“Car enthusiasts go online and point out the inaccuracies Danny makes on occasions. One of them said that Danny claimed 1954 was the year Chevy began making the Corvette, and that it was a failure, with just 600 produced. The enthusiast noted that four Corvettes were built in 1952 and several thousands the following year” (ecelebrityfacts.com).
However, I’d imagine that sometimes it’s more of a blunder rather than being dead-wrong about something, as he’s a very down-to-earth and simple guy. In fact, if you didn’t know, he’s actually a practicing Christian. Don’t let the tattoos and long hair deceive you (like a lot of people are); the guy still says his prayers nightly and believes in God (lasvegasweekly.com). Considering that he doesn’t seem to have any indications of deceiving others, the mistakes are likely not intentional.
14 An EMPLOYEE STOLE MONEY
The supply of bad employee is not in demand, but for some reason, it keeps accumulating. One of the workers actually stole $75K and bought a personal car and plane tickets. Turns out, the guy had a history of fraudulent behavior even before he came to work for Count’s Kustoms.
“Las Vegas Justice Court records show that Frontiera was charged in September with felony theft of more than $3,500 for a crime that happened in August 2013. A warrant for Frontiera’s arrest was issued but has not been served because he is living in Florida, said Steven Mack, the attorney representing Count’s Kustoms in the lawsuit,” states kansascity.com. There’s something called a background check, people.
Frontiera did a very sneaky thing to get into trouble. He essentially found a way to make signature stamps of Danny. There had been problems within the accounting department for some time, and that was the last straw. The Frontiera guy was also sued for failing to pay income taxes on time.
It should be noted that the issue perhaps went even deeper than that. According to screenrant.com, the company that referred Frontiera was also sued for knowing the prior embezzlement charges, but the company sued Count’s Kustoms in return for breaking the agreement by putting Frontiera in charge of money.
13 DANNY Doesn't Care About Going Green
This is a thing that a lot of people struggle with. The reason has to do with how we see things. It’s no doubt that Americans believe global warming is a real thing. “Nationally, about seven in 10 Americans support regulating carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants — and 75 percent support regulating CO2 as a pollutant more generally,” states nytimes.com. The problem, and the reality for some, is that most people also believe that global warming won’t impact them individually, according to nytimes.com. So that’s why there’s not much progress because, at the end of the day, most Americans believe they won’t be affected personally.
However, big corporations, like car manufacturers, have to abide by the emissions standards if they want to do business in the US.
Here’s is Danny’s take on this issue from screenrant.com: “During an interview with a Canadian program called The Morning Show, he unequivocally asserted that he has ‘no use for’ greener cars like the Toyota Prius because they don't have the power in a car that he craves. Koker went on to say that, ‘if it gets four miles to the gallon and has 800 horsepower, I’m thrilled. We’ve got more oil than we can shake a stick at.’ He concluded with a suggestion that environmental concerns are ‘a game’ staged by politicians.”
12 POLITICS Come FIRST, BUSINESS’ IMAGE SECOND
It’s surreal how things change. There was a time when people thought Donald Trump running for president was a bad thing. Then, when some people supported him, others still thought it was a joke, and that he wouldn’t win for sure. Now that Donald Trump is the president of the US, people’s views have changed. He was promising something that appealed to a lot of Republicans—tax cuts. And that’s one of the reasons why Danny liked the then-candidate Donald Trump.
“We’ve been dealing with an administration that has not done its job for the past seven and a half plus years right now. And in my opinion, as a businessman, I need somebody that’s going to help fix that. I’ve got several businesses based out of Las Vegas here, and try to create jobs for real people that have real families. … And as you work harder, you seem to become more and more penalized whether it’s with taxes or with regulations,” stated Danny (foxbusiness.com).
And guess what, saying all that during such a time was a bold move, as not everyone is comfortable with sharing private political opinions in public. Danny wasn’t one of them, despite how it could have negatively affected his show’s popularity.
11 SCOPE OF PRODUCTION IS MASSIVE
First of all, these guys are crazy. They will take anything that has any similarity to a vehicle. I remember “Horny” Mike saying that they are a big fan of cars and motorcycles, (obviously classic cars), but that they’d customize anything, including a boat. Now, he was quick enough to say that they won’t necessarily like working on a boat, but they can definitely do the job. So, what does that mean in terms of production? Well, it means that there are at least 15 projects at any given time. That means one department or another has something on its hands, so the camera people have to keep up with the pace to avoid the risk of missing some crucial things.
Helping handle those 15 projects at any given time are 45 people who work continuously to keep the garage and show running like a car with a good battery and high-quality oil.
“So much happening all at once means that the Counting Cars camera crew has to be focused on a lot of activity simultaneously, which can become very chaotic,” states screenrant.com. And it’s not like things have likely changed much, as this was from an interview just a year ago.
10 The Story Of Mike's Horns
First, let’s talk about that name. If you didn’t know “Horny Mike,” you might have tried to make a connection between “horny” and “horns.” Should you have failed to make a connection there—at which point your gearhead status would have been revoked—you might have become a bit indecent and made a sexual connection. Either way, you would have been wrong. The “horny” in his name refers to anatomical horns of animals.
Nonetheless, the story of Mike is interesting. Before getting into this gig, he was just an airbrusher, painting T-shirts and license plates. He always had a thing for horns, and he’d try to put one into anything that he designed or created. Danny was a big fan of “Horny Mike’s” creativity and artistic skills.
So what is the hard part about Mike’s job?
“Sometimes, the customer wants something that’s nasty and will not look good necessarily,” he said. “You came to me for a reason. We’re good at what we do. Let me take your idea, tweak it a little bit, and I guarantee you’re going to love it. You just tell them you will do exactly what they want and then sometimes you do the opposite, yet they ended up loving what you do” (philstar.com).
9 MAKING DEALS IS DIFFICULT
In another entry here, we talked about how the act of buying cars for restoration is fake. While that’s true, these people still have to buy cars and then stage the buying act. So staging is the easy part, but buying is difficult, because as you know, the show is famous, meaning a lot of people who are approached for deals know who Danny and the rest of crew are. And that’s where the sellers see an opportunity to let out that fomenting greed. After all, Danny has a whopping net worth of $10M, thus these people figure they can get that extra one or two—or however many—thousand dollars without much problem.
“In a 2013 interview, he confessed that people now know how successful his business is, and they also know he gets paid handsomely for the show, so the act of haggling suddenly becomes more complicated than it used to be. ‘Nine times out of ten, the person recognizes you,’ he said. They know that this guy is from TV and they try to hold onto their prices a little bit tougher” (screenrant.com).
Well, that’s a bummer. I guess he learned being famous on TV has some downsides too.
8 DOC DUGGANS’ HOME WAS ROBBED
Doc seems like a brainy guy, which he is, as he’s the one who puts all the gadgets and widgets in the cars and makes them all Mercedes S-Class-like. Some of the tech features are necessary for today’s cars, while others are slightly helpful, while others are still just a waste of money. For instance, heads-up display is a feature that’s necessary, as the more the drivers are able to keep eyes on the road, the less likely they will get into an accident. While internally you might have said “duh,” you’d be surprised to learn how many people get into accidents because of that. Another important feature to have would be night-vision, which is rather self-explanatory.
Anyway, Doc’s image on TV perhaps led some to believe he’s loaded: his home was robbed.
“Doc found his house robbed in 2015, after returning from a Thanksgiving trip. He found his door unlocked and the place empty. Only a few piles of clothes and dishes were left. The robbers had run those dishes through the dishwasher before leaving. As a result, Duggan beefed up his security, he added cameras, stronger locks, and other security measures to the place,” states ecelebrityfacts.com.
Good thing he knows a thing or two about technology.
7 DANNY IS VERY FRUGAL
As with a lot of businessmen, Danny is very judicious with his money. Mood doesn’t dictate life as much as principles do, which is why he states he’s a frugal buyer. The most money he has spent on a car was about $115K. And you'd better believe that car was special—and it was. It was a 1999 Shelby Series 1 (theglobeandmail.com). That car looks like it’s a combination of several sports cars, namely a Lotus and the more powerful Corvette. It falls in the middle in that it’s curvier than what a Corvette would be but less curved than what a Lotus Elise would be. These cars were dangerous back in the day though, as they had a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds and looked angry with the red stripes.
Besides the performance, the car has historical significance. Motor Trend sheds some light on that, writing: “The Series 1 is the first car the legendary snake-charmer has ever created from the ground up. Yep, that’s right. The very first machine that’s pure Shelby from top to bottom and (in spirit, if not exactly literally) inside and out. It’s the embodiment of everything the great Shel’ has learned about great cars in his 75 years.”
6 Detroit Is Danny's Forever Home
A lot of people can’t seem to let go of childhood stuff, and Danny is one of them. When asked where he would retreat for a week, he responded Detroit. Now, Detroit is in his blood. All of his relatives are from that area, and he spent a decent amount of his childhood years in Detroit. Additionally, a lot of his family members worked at Ford Motor Company, which helped shape who he’s today. That is, his father and uncles would always have some sort of cool car or hot rods or even motorcycles, and he would play around them, be around them and get rides in them. That is reflected even in his daily driver 1965 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, which is customized and made look lavish. It has several things, including the gangster-like whitewalls, all-black interior, and a black vinyl top.
Considering all the above, it shouldn’t be a surprise this was his answer to the above question about the retreat: “I would go to Detroit and visit family and revisit the old neighborhoods where I spent a large part of my youth growing up. And I would probably go to just south of Cleveland and do the same thing” (reviewjournal.com).
5 ROLI’S TRAILER WAS STOLEN
Roli Scazbo is the resident detailer. He hangs around the shop and cleans and polishes whatever comes his way. And if the owner of that thing happens to be an individual with a Hungarian accent, he’ll also get a good laugh, as he himself is from Hungary. Before joining Count’s Kustoms shop, he had various jobs, including being an ambulance driver in the army and a bodyguard.
Anyway, in January of 2017, his trailer, which had his equipment, got stolen. It was a concerted effort by a group of people, although it doesn’t quite make sense why someone would steal a trailer that clearly screamed its owner’s information, name, face and the likes. Judging from one surveillance camera, it looks like it took the robbers 15 minutes to hook the trailer and take off.
“To Scazbo, the trailer holds a big part of his livelihood. ‘They're stealing my equipment, my business,’ said Scazbo. ‘If they knew whose trailer it was, then they're even dumber because they should know people are going to see. People are going to recognize it.’”
"Don't steal somebody's work. They don't know my detailing equipment is not in the trailer. So, they would steal my work. How I provide for my family," said Roli (fox5vegas.com).
4 DANNY'S DREAM CAR IS a 972 Lamborghini Miura SV
Even if you don’t have motor oil running in your vein, there’s a good chance you’ll have a favorite car, because somewhere in the corner of your mind sits a car that has a special meaning for you. Well, so does the person who flips cars. Now of course, Danny owns so many cars and flips even a greater number such that all cars are bound to mean something to him, but there’s one that he has an even deeper desire for. It’s a 1972 Lamborghini Miura SV.
“One time, he came pretty close [referring to being able to obtain the car]. ‘Somewhere between 15 and 20 years ago, I almost had a deal on one and then it fell through,’ he explained. The dream remains alive, as he continues to be on the lookout for this particular make and model, despite the fact that they grow rarer and more expensive with each passing year" (screenrant.com).
This car looks a lot like a Corvette. Maybe it was the culture back then or maybe this was a rare lineup, but over the course of seven years (1966-1973), only 764 were built (not the SV; they were even rarer), which comes out to be 105 or so cars annually.
3 DANNY WEARS A BANDANA TO HIDE HIS HEAD
His bandana generates a lot of interest. And folks, it’s through this that we can learn how the brain functions. The rumors vary from mild to wild. Some people, who are dirty-minded, think that the has got a tattoo of genitals on his forehead. Hmm, interesting thought. Tattoos are a weird thing. A lot of people don’t like them, while others love them. But even those who love them, get them in a coverable and “standard” place, so to speak. I’m not sure if you have ever seen someone with tattoos on the forehead, but if you check out some of the images on Google, you can find some sort of common pattern they have, namely that they all look mean, big and gangster-like. While Danny has tattoos on his arms, he doesn’t seem like he’s the kind of guy who’d have a tattoo on his forehead
So why the bandana? It’s to hide the receding hairline. Here’s what one of the users of Reddit said: “On another note Danny really needs to give in to his receding hairline and ditch that stupid black bandana; he is not fooling anyone. Just shave your whole head and embrace the bald look.”
2 DANNY’S DAILY DRIVER is a 1965 CADILLAC FLEETWOOD BROUGHAM
Danny drives an old classic car, and he seems to be a big fan of it. “My daily driver is a 1965 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. It's huge. It's an absolute land yacht” (theglobeandmail.com). As huge as that car is, it’s also bound to be heavily manual. I remember driving my 1999 Honda Accord during the rainy season, and a lot of times, I would get the experience that I was piloting a plane. Everything would require my attention constantly. The windshield would fog, so the AC had to be turned on, and then it would get too cold, so turned back off. Then I’d take a turn, so had to use the turn signal, and then the rain would pick up, so I’d have to change the speed of the wipers. Rinse and repeat. I didn’t have a manual, or that would have just added to the chaos. And that’s exactly what James May of Top Gear thinks of old cars: “If they were any good, they’d still be made. Modern cars are faster, better handling, more reliable, more comfortable, cleaner, safer, more economical, and mostly cheaper to purchase, too” (petrolicious.com). However, some people, like Danny himself, like the personal memories that these cars evoke.
1 DANNY’S DAD WAS A Singer Too
Danny’s dad was a versatile individual. Born on December 17, 1933, the gentleman died in 2008, at the age of 74. He was a musician, singer, composer, conductor and any other roles you can imagine in the singing field. Plus, he was also a hockey player (for the US Army), baseball player and an automotive enthusiast. He was part of various bands, such as the Foggy River Boys, Weatherford Quartet, The Cathedral Quartet, The Rex Humbard Family Singers and Koker Family Singers. As good as he was with all the aspects of the music, he was the best at playing the piano, and as such, he played for various individuals, including Mahalia Jackson (an American gospel singer), June and Johnny Cash, Pat Boone and his family, Red Foley, Connie Smith, Jeannie C. Riley, Stuart Hamblen and Tennessee Ernie Ford (findagrave.com).
Findagrave.com explains: “He was preceded by his parents, Mary and Stanko Koker; his brothers, Peter Koker and Milford Koker; and his sisters, Bess Basar and Mary Hayes. He is survived by his sister, Dotty Marks, and brother-in-law, Jim Marks and sister, Becky Koker, brother-in-law, Stevie Norris, sister-in-law, Linda Norris and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his beloved partner and wife, Mary; adoring daughter, Kim; loyal, loving son, Danny and honored daughter-in-law, Korie.”
Sources: lasvegasweekly.com, vancourier.com, reviewjournal.com