The name Danny Koker is more than familiar with any good fan of car-centered reality TV shows. Not only is his History channel’s series “Counting Cars” wildly popular on its own, but Danny’s eccentricity, style and more than evident passion for old classic cars makes him quite an unforgettable TV personality.
Nonetheless, no matter how widely famous he is, there’s a lot of unsaid things about Danny, including details related to his personal life, businesses, life before fame, beginnings in the car-restoration world, and even his scandals and lawsuits.
So what are the mysteries behind Danny ‘The Count’ Koker? Keep with us to discover them!
- 1 Danny Has Many Businesses
- 2 His Humble Beginnings
- 3 His Portrayal On TV Was Planned Differently
- 4 Danny Is Also A Musician
- 5 Danny Has Been In Court More Than Once
- 6 He Was In Other History’s Shows Before
- 7 Danny Is Into Politics
- 8 He Used To Be More Eccentric
- 9 He’s Not Into Environment Causes
- 10 His Car Collection Is Better Than Expected
Danny Has Many Businesses
Though “Counting Cars” gives the impression that Danny Koker is always busy in his car workshop, the truth is that he’s a businessman through and through. Besides Count’s Kustoms, Danny has three other successful ventures, out of which his Count’s Vamp’d Rock Bar & Grill in Las Vegas is arguably the most popular.
The business opened in 2009 under the name of Feelsgood with Mötley Crüe’s frontman Vince Neil as an associate and image holder, but after the singer sold his shares in 2011, Danny was left as the only owner. After a revamp took place, the business passed from being a restaurant with casual live shows, to officially becoming a nightclub with over four live music performances per week in recent years.
Danny also owns Count’s Tattoo Company, a parlor located in Las Vegas’ Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. This was also a shared venture of Danny with Vince Neil, until the latter sold his shares. However, Danny hasn’t had any problem managing both businesses by himself, in addition to being a major associate of Desert Moon Productions, the company in charge of Count’s Vamp’d live concerts. All in all, it’s evident that Danny knows how to be a real money machine.
His Humble Beginnings
Judging by how successful he is nowadays, it’s surprising to know Danny Koker became an accomplished fabricator and mechanic by his own means.
Coming from a family who worked for the Ford Motor Company, it was sort of expected that Danny would take a career route related to cars. As Danny often recalls, his mother affirms his first words as a child always had something to do with cars, a passion that only increased when his father gifted him a motorcycle at only eight years old.
Often recalling his uncle was an executive in a car dealership, and one of his brothers worked as a crew expert in Formula 1, Danny’s path in the automotive world was clearly set long before he even realized it. However, the entirety of Danny’s technical knowledge comes from his own doing, as he never received any traditional schooling about it besides ‘your basic shop class and automotive class’ in high school, as he said in an interview with American Profile: ‘it’s just a matter of getting your hands dirty, taking something apart to see how it works. Then you’ve got to figure out how to put it back together’.
Although Danny’s learning methods aren’t the most common, it’s not surprising that he’s always done things his own way.
His Portrayal On TV Was Planned Differently
It’s a widely acknowledged fact that reality TV is often not loyal to its premise, as many settings, situations and dialogues are changed to keep the audience entertained. Nonetheless, some reality stars are also asked to change aspects of their personalities for the sake of ratings, even if sometimes those changes are excessive.
The latter is the case of Danny Koker, whose cool and often untroubled character usually seen in “Counting Cars” is not exactly what the show’s producers initially wanted from him. As Danny affirmed in a Rock Confidential interview, he realized the producers wanted him to behave like ‘an as*hole’ while filming the series’ pilot: ‘they wanted more yelling and throwing things around’.
Though Danny affirmed it wasn’t in his nature to act like that, at some point he and his staff acquiesced to the demands, adding some drama to their interactions to ‘appease the producers back in New York’, which only ended up with Danny to apologizing to his workers after every filmed scene.
Fortunately for everyone, the executives didn’t like how faked Danny’s bad attitude looked on the show’s pilot, eventually giving the show a green light, but without again asking anyone to change their personality.
Danny Is Also A Musician
Besides cars, music is definitely Danny’s next biggest passion, which he never stopped pursuing even regardless of how busy he is with his businesses and TV show.
Though the fact he’s the frontman of the Las Vegas-based rock band Count’s 77 is somewhat known to those who follow the show closely, most people don’t know Danny is a trained gospel singer.
As it happens, Danny’s actually the son of a baritone singer from the Cathedral Quartet, a gospel group very popular back in the second half of the last century. During the six years his father was in the group, the then-young Danny learned how to mix his love for music and faith in one place: ‘I used to sing southern gospel, and a lot of black gospel as well. That’s in my blood, man. I love it’, he told Rock Confidential in 2013.
While Danny’s time singing Christian music eventually ended and he didn’t do anything music-related for a couple of decades, in the early 2010s Danny set foot on stage again with Count’s 77. Though the band initially only covered rock songs from the 1970s, they eventually released an eponymous album in 2014, followed by a second, “Soul Transfusion”, in 2017. Nowadays Count’s 77 is easily found performing at Danny’s bar Count’s Vamp’d, or touring the US.
Danny Has Been In Court More Than Once
Although Danny Koker hasn’t had any personal problem with the law that we know of, it’s a different story for his business Count’s Kustoms.
In late 2012 a couple named Jeanette and Paul Hurt commissioned Count’s Kustoms to buy and restore a 1967 Ford Mustang Coupe, for which they paid $50,000 in advance. They were promised the project would be finished by June 2013, in addition to being featured in a “Counting Cars” episode. However, by August that year, not only wasn’t the restoration finished, but the couple was also informed that the show would no longer feature the car’s reveal.
After deciding to continue the project, Jeanette and Paul found out in October that year that Count’s Kustoms bought a different car than the one agreed, which would cost them an additional $19,000, so in 2014 the couple filed a lawsuit asking for a refund of their $50,000, though it’s unknown what the case’s resolution was.
In 2016 Count’s Kustoms filed a lawsuit for costs restitutions against Joseph Frontiera, who was a former shop’s employee. As it happens, Frontiera had used $75,000 of the business’ money to cover payments for his car, and travel costs, by faking the signatures of his bosses.
Count’s Kustoms ultimately won the case in 2019 and Frontiera was ordered to pay $41,257 in restitution.
He Was In Other History’s Shows Before
Knowing how greatly popular “Counting Cars” is, it’s not surprising to find out the show is actually a spin-off from the internationally famous “Pawn Stars”, a History channel series which many people don’t realise that Danny Koker appeared in too. As it happens, the guys from Count’s Kustoms are long-time friends with the Harrisons, who invited Danny onto their show knowing how knowledgeable he is when it comes to classic cars. Danny’s first appearance in “Pawn Stars” dates back to 2010 during the third season, becoming a regular guest in the show for the next three years.
Needless to say, Danny’s presence in the show was a total success, and he was soon receiving offers from several networks to be in their projects. Nonetheless, Danny affirms he was advised by a producer to ‘hold tight’ and reject those offers, as something better was coming: ‘eventually, it worked that History wanted to do it, which is a blessing because they are so great to work with, man’, he said in an interview for the Matt & Jess Blog.
Besides “Pawn Stars”, Danny also appeared in “American Restoration” from 2011 to 2014. However, it’s evident that once “Counting Cars” premiered, Danny was just too busy to appear in other people’s shows.
Danny Is Into Politics
Many celebrities keep their political views a secret, or tone them down for the sake of maintaining their popularity. However, Danny Koker isn’t one of those, made very evident when he openly showed his support for Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy in 2016.
As Danny told Fox Business at the time, his then-current political views were caused by his displeasure with the past Democrat Party administration: ‘(it) has not done its job for the past seven and a half plus years right now. (…) As a businessman, I need somebody that’s going to help fix that’.
Though he also affirmed that hard work and success were ‘penalized’ with ‘taxes and regulations’, the apparent damage that a non-Republican administration might cause over the country’s national security were one of Danny’s other main concerns back then.
He Used To Be More Eccentric
Just by taking a look at Danny Koker, we can tell he clearly hasn’t let go of the 1980s biker style. Nonetheless, his trademark bandana, tattoo-covered arms and dark sunglasses aren’t even as eye-catching as the style he used to have a couple of decades ago.
In the early 1990s Danny hosted “Saturday Fright at the Movies”, a showcase-type of series which introduced horror movies to its audience. The show aired on the now rebranded Nevada local network KFBT, which interestingly enough belonged to Danny’s family at the time.
Nonetheless, the bi-weekly series was more than simple entertainment for Danny. As he admitted in an interview with Las Vegas Review-Journal, spending his early years between Detroit and Cleveland made him develop a deep love for the locally-aired night-time horror movies.
His love for the film genre added to his passion for rock ‘n’ roll to create his Count Cool Rider character, the show’s host which was a clear mix between Elvis and old-Hollywood vampires: ‘(it) was me paying respect to the guys that I grew up watching’.
Though his family sold KFBT in the early 2000s, “Saturday Fright At The Movies” was an undeniable local success for 10 years, and his eccentricity clearly made him a local celebrity.
He’s Not Into Environment Causes
It’s not only that “Counting Cars” lets its viewers see some of the most amazing and other-worldly car renovations, but the fact that they exclusively focus on classic cars sets them apart from other reality shows of the same genre.
While it’s evident that renovating old and expensive cars is surely more profitable for Count’s Kustoms than working on newer automobiles, Danny Koker’s clear preference for the classics plays a big role in it too.
Although that might not be a big problem for most motor heads, the not-so environmentally friendly old cars are a big concern in our times.
When asked about the issue during an interview with “The Morning Show”, Danny stated that he ‘had no use for’ for green-powered cars such as the Toyota Prius. Though his co-star Kevin Mack assured that their car preferences didn’t have to do with their views on environmental consciousness, Danny interrupted him by saying: ‘I could care less. If it gets four miles to the gallon and has 800 horsepower, I’m thrilled.’
Although Danny’s line of ‘let’s burn this stuff and have a good time’ might have sounded good-humored for some people, it’s obvious his declarations weren’t warmly received by everyone. Nonetheless, seeing how Danny has been in the car business for so long, it’s unlikely his perception of green energies would change anytime soon.
Danny and Kevin Mack have worked together for nearly 2 decades, but their friendship goes beyond that time! Kevin is Danny’s right hand man! If you need Danny, you gotta go through Kev! •#history #lasvegas #countskustoms #countingcars pic.twitter.com/DfkIV2SfiO
— Count's Kustoms (@CountsKustoms) December 24, 2021
His Car Collection Is Better Than Expected
It’s never surprising to see Danny Koker’s impressive automobile collection up close. With over 75 motorcycles and almost 60 cars, Danny has one of the biggest collections in Nevada. Some of the most memorable models in his ownership are the impressively repainted 1973 Buick Riviera, and 1979 Camaro Z28, in addition to his classic-looking and luxurious 1978 Lincoln, and a futuristic Lamborghini Countach valued at $300,000.
Nonetheless, if there’s a car truly important for Danny, then it’s his 1966 Mustang GT350, a car his father bought when the young Danny was nine years old, and which awoke his love for autos so early in life. The car was passed down to him following his father’s death, and despite the expense, it’s unlikely Danny would sell it anytime soon. This makes evident that memories are sometimes more important than money, and that applies to even the most successful guys.