Not many reality TV fans would have thought that a car show on the History Channel would turn out to be as popular as Counting Cars did. The show has provided some incredible entertainment, not just for car enthusiasts but for general non-car lovers as well. Mixing in fantastic vehicles and brilliant mechanic work with some drama, comedy, and (at times) serious emotion, the show managed to capture the hearts of the world and became incredibly popular.
With many of the stars going on to huge fame and fortune directly because of the show, Counting Cars and its cast gained a dedicated following and with that came plenty of stories and behind the scenes details, both true and false.
As with any reality TV show, there were plenty of elements on Counting Cars that were fabricated and were done purely for the sake of entertainment, but it is also a show that highlights some incredibly talented people with a lot of real elements taking place that viewers could identify with while tuning in to catch another restoration project or build that drew their attention just as much as the drama.
Within this article, we will take a look at 10 moments and stories that were totally staged for the show in order to make it more entertaining, while also looking at 10 true yet strange stories involving the show.
20 Totally Staged: The Lawsuit Against Frontier
The infamous lawsuit against Joseph Frontier managed to gain a lot of attention when it took place, with some fairly big headlines being written and the media keeping a close eye on how things were breaking down.
Count's Kustoms decided to sue its former employee after he allegedly stole money from the company and used it for his own personal use, whilst they also sued the company that recommended him in the first place, showing how series Count's Kustoms was.
However, whilst they appeared to be strong heading in, Frontier had very good representation and his lawyer filed to dismiss, with the suit against the company falling through as well.
19 Strange But True: Fallout With A Rockstar
Due to the popularity of Counting Cars, Danny Koker was able to become a major name and earn celebrity status, which allowed him to become friends with fellow celebrities, as is often the case for those who rise to fame. However, Koker didn't get along with everyone. While many of his friends appeared on the show and ended up helping it grow, even more, Motley Crue singer Vince Neil is someone with whom Koker had a major fallout with.
After Neil was apprehended by the law several times, Koker's coworkers expressed concerns about them being friends because it was hurting the company image and therefore, they quickly parted ways and are no longer friends.
18 Totally Staged: The Filming Isn't Chronological
This shouldn't really come as a big surprise but Counting Cars was never filmed in chronological order simply because of how many episodes were being filmed in quick succession. The team had so many builds going on at one time that it made sense to simply film different bits as they progressed, rather than waiting for one car to be complete before moving on to the next.
The team was working on as many as 15 cars at a time, which shows how chaotic things could have been inside the garage. With the beauty of editing, though, everything appeared seamless to the viewer at home, which is one of the miracles of television.
17 Strange But True: It Only Exists Because Of Pawn Stars
This one is quite a well-known fact as the two shows are directly related, with Pawn Stars really being crucial to Counting Cars being able to become a TV show as its popularity helped spur this show. The obvious connection is the fact that Danny Koker appeared on both shows and whilst he played a much bigger role on Counting Cars, it was from his appearances on a few episodes of Pawn Stars that he got this show.
The History Channel decided to create a show solely based around Koker's own auto shop because they felt it would be good television after he showed his entertaining ability to carry a show on his own, which turned out to be the right decision.
16 Totally Staged: The Stories About The Cars
One of the best parts of Counting Cars often came from the backstory that would tend to come with each car. A story would be told about how the car was found and what the team did with it, sometimes with even more details about its history being added. The truth is that these were almost always faked by the editors in order to make the show a little more exciting and to give the viewers a reason to invest into the journey that each car would go through a little more.
While they certainly did restore each car that rolled into the garage, the details behind them were often muddled. After all, do you really think that the team would just stumble across so many supposedly abandoned vehicles or know the full details about some of the cars' pasts?
15 Strange But True: Difficulty Selling Their Own Cars
You would think that with fame and fortune comes plenty of positives, and whilst that is true for the Counting Cars team, there have been negatives, as well, with a major one being that they have had difficulty selling their own cars. Danny Koker has admitted that it has become a lot tougher to sell his own cars, mainly due to the sentimentality that he has towards them, especially if he has put a lot of time into restoring the cars.
Koker admitted that he becomes attached to the cars that he works on, which is why he finds it tough to simply drop everything and sell them, believing that he puts a part of himself into every car he works on.
14 Totally Staged: Timeline Of Builds
As we mentioned earlier, the show was never filmed in chronological order due to different restraints, but the actual timelines of the builds that were shown on television were also nowhere near accurate, either. The show would massively fast forward from when the start of the process began to show how the work took place, often making out that things were done far quicker than they actually were.
The fact that it wasn't filmed chronologically helped the editors in this department and did mean that the team couldn't focus on finishing one car straight away because there were always others to be worked on at the same time.
13 Strange But True: Danny Doesn't Like Green Cars
In this day and age, the world is starting to turn very environmentally friendly in all aspects of life and that includes cars, with many vehicles now turning 'green' and focusing on saving the planet. Cars like the Toyota Prius have become very popular with many people, including celebrities, but Danny Koker is not one of those, having made it clear that he doesn't like these new green cars.
The main reason he is not a fan is that they don't have any power and that is something that he wants from his car, with Koker questioning why these eco-conscious commuters are being created.
12 Totally Staged: The Theories On Scott Jones' Departure
Scott Jones was one of the main focuses on the first and second seasons of Counting Cars and he worked as both the manager and bookkeeper at Count's Kustoms, which is why many people were surprised when he left the show during the third season. Plenty of theories quickly popped up online, from the box standard to the downright wild, with one claiming that he was fired for pocketing a little cash on his own.
Another theory claimed that he was sick of being on camera and simply wanted out. However, the fact that no real reason has ever been nailed down is a clear sign that the theories are all fake because he actually just moved down South and created his own garage, allowing him to become the boss.
11 Strange But True: Count's 77 Do Exist
This might seem like one of the fakest elements of the show: Danny Koker claiming that he is in a rock band. Some fans believe this is just a backstory to add some drama to the show, but the fact is that it's true. Count's 77 is a legitimate touring band that has videos and plays live concerts for people to go and see just like any other rock band. Even though Danny is normally very busy with his car work, he clearly finds time for his other passion, which is music.
Koker is actually the lead singer of the band, which might not surprise people, with the Count's 77 often being found around the Las Vegas music scene, although it's fair to say he has had more success with his car career.
10 Totally Staged: Buying Cars On The Street
The backstories of all of the cars aren't the only things that are staged on the show, as the way that the cars are bought is also staged in order to seem more impressive on television, giving people a reason to tune in. The idea that a stranger would be able to speak with someone on the streets and simply hand over a wad of cash for a car is a far-fetched one and is perhaps the fakest element of the show.
In reality, people are approached off-camera, first checking that they are happy to be on TV, and then a deal is agreed upon and a script is created to make everything seem as natural as possible for the audience watching at home.
9 Strange But True: Count's Kustoms Gets Bad Reviews
When you see the incredible work that the Count's Kustoms team are able to complete, you would think that everyone who gets work done by them would be incredibly happy with it. But, in reality, that isn't the case. The fact is that, just like every single business, there are always going to be problems and things that don't go right, which means that they actually receive some bad reviews online every now and then.
One review points out that a member of staff was rude whilst another stated that the shop was in a scary area of town. However, they must all be taken with a grain of salt because fame can bring out the worst in people, with some wanting to do negative reviews just for the sake of it.
8 Totally Staged: The Size Of The Crew
As with any show of this nature, there is always a lot more going on than the eye can see. As we have already pointed out, there have been plenty of examples of the show highlighting certain things whilst glossing over other elements. One of the biggest was the actual size of the crew involved inside Count's Kustoms.
Whilst the same familiar faces that everyone knows and loves are shown getting their hands greasy, the fact is the crew is much bigger than the show highlights. It would be impossible for just the team that appears on TV to be able to get the work done as quickly as they do. In reality, there are plenty of people working just as hard on the cars that never get a moment of air time.
7 Strange But True: A Work Trailer Was Taken
Roli Szabo is the shop’s detailer and a very trusted member of the team. His job is to clean up all the vehicles before they leave the shop and he is a very popular member of the cast, often earning high praise for his work ethic. This is why it was particularly sad when a trailer that was specially-made with his equipment inside was snatched from the Las Vegas business called Mango's Beach Bar, with the trailer clearly being taken with the idea that they could sell it for parts.
Roli's name and face were on the side of the trailer and it was clear that because of that some questionable characters noticed that there would be some expensive equipment inside and therefore, it became a clear target.
6 Totally Staged: The Drama
This is commonplace within the reality TV show world, with producers doing everything in their power to add as much drama to the show as possible, as it is within those moments that keep the fans hooked and bring them back for more. Without drama, most reality TV shows would be quite mundane and Counting Cars is no different in that respect.
But, of course, the vast amount of drama between people in the crew is often overplayed and forced. The majority of the time, the people involved are handed scripts or told scenarios to play (basically being actors), whilst the editors make it appear as realistic as possible—as if it all happened in the spur of the moment. Imagine if there really was that much drama; who would want to work there?
5 Strange But True: Bringing A Family Together
You might not think that something like a car could actually bring a family together, but that is exactly what happened on the show and despite how strange that might seem, it is one of the true stories from the show. Danny wanted to find a lost car that belonged to Barry White for his wife, who wanted it back for sentimental reasons and when filming the pilot episode, the team managed to find the 1979 Stutz and purchased it.
Glodean was left in tears when she found out that they had bought it, with Danny admitting that they paid too much. The group worked to restore the vehicle and on Episode 12, they presented it to Glodean in a very emotional moment.
4 Totally Staged: Making Deals Is Harder For Them
Even though we mentioned earlier that the deals don't happen in the spur of the moment on the street, that doesn't mean that real deals don't take place, as every car is legitimately bought and a fair deal is always agreed upon. However, as the show has built up a reputation, smarter members of the public have seen an opportunity to earn a little extra money, especially if they own something special, which has actually made it harder for Koker and crew to make deals.
People know that they are paid a high amount for the show and once they are recognized, that is when the deal quickly goes from fair to unfair because the seller wants to earn more money just because of the TV show. It's irony at its finest.
3 Strange But True: Not Touching His Dad's Cars
Something that fans might not know is just how close Danny Koker was with his father, with the two sharing a brilliant relationship until the elder Koke's untimely passing back in 2008. The tragedy hit Danny hard because the pair were best friends as well as business partners, with Danny admitting that it had a big effect on him.
He also emphasized afterward that he had to say busy in order to keep his mind from wandering. However, he has never been able to work on his father's cars because he thinks they were too personal to his father and he has therefore not touched them and kept them in storage.
2 Totally Staged: Factual Errors About Cars
You would think for a show that is totally based around cars and a group of people that are supposedly experts on them, Counting Cars would provide perfect factual information about the vehicles involved in the show. After all, it is literally the business of those involved to know the finer details of the automotive world.
However, as many car enthusiasts have pointed out online, there are often mistakes made on the show, especially from Danny Koker. Even though the mistakes are harmless and unintended, you would think the show would have a fact checker making sure these mistakes don't filter through, but, everyone is human after all and mistakes happen, even for experts.
1 Strange But True: Every Car Gets Restored
Whilst it might seem obvious that every car on the show gets restored—because that is the actual premise of the entire thing—but when it comes to reality shows, it is never fully clear what is real and what is fake. However, fans of the show will be pleased to learn that the actual restorations of the cars themselves are 100% real and that every car the group buys does get fully restored, so there can be no questions of faking things.
While there have been reports that the show has faked a few of the cars restorations, that simply isn't the case, with the group just being incredibly talented and hardworking.
Sources: IMDb, Las Vegas Weekly, and Wikipedia.