“Pawn Stars” meets “Pimp My Ride” in History Channel’s car flipping reality show “Counting Cars.” The 30 minute program, which recently debuted its second season profiles recurring “Pawn Stars” appraiser Danny “The Count” Koker’s Count’s Kustoms car and bike shop.
Koker has the prototypical biker look; long hair, bandana, tattoos, the whole deal. In fact, he’s a dead ringer for Mark Calaway’s biker take on his Undertaker pro-wrestling character in the early 2000’s. The Count is the type of personality, at least on TV, where if he sees something he likes, he gets it. Koker will literally chase down cars on the street, harass people in parking lots, and knock on strangers’ doors and make offers on cars on the spot. He typically goes after classic muscle cars from the 60’s and 70’s. Camaros, Mustangs, GTOs, that kind of stuff. Koker will buy clunkers with potential, fixes them up from top to bottom, including the engine, interior, and paint job then sells them to big spenders going through a mid-life crisis in the Vegas area. You won’t see any Xzibit style cotton candy machines or PlayStations in these cars, Koker will restore the cars to as close to original condition as he can.
The structure of an episode is not as strict as other cash-and-grab type shows. One episode may see customers bring in a bike or car they want done and other episodes will see The Count chase down some cars he wants, then either flip them for a profit or once in a while, keep them for his personal collection. This flexibility in the format of an episode is what makes the show so addictive and authentic feeling. I do emphasize that the show “feels” authentic. There are some scenes that definitely set off my BS radar like the episode that opens with The Count and right hand man Kevin going through a fast food drive thru only to see a $300,000 Plymouth Superbird pulling out of the parking lot.
Of course, any good Count needs a supporting crew and Koker definitely has a diverse cast of characters surrounding him. Aside from Kevin, who typically goes out with Koker looking for new buys, you have Count’s Kustoms Business Manager Scott, who has a big, John Goodman like voice and physique and has the unenviable job of making sure the shop’s money is in order which can be a tough job when Koker wants to keep his best buys.
Then there’s the true winner of the crew, Horny Mike. Mike’s gimmick is that he loves horns. Seriously. He wears them all the time, starting with his spiky hair-do and his vest with horns running down the spine. Any chance Mike gets to put horns on a bike or car, he’ll take it.
The show is not without a little dose of star power now and then. Rick and Corey of “Pawn Stars” bring cars that have come to their shop for Koker to restore in a couple episodes and he becomes the “Satanic Mechanic” when Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson brings her Mistress of the Dark themed ride in for repairs. She even appears in character to pick up her car in an episode delightfully filled with puns and thinly veiled sexual innuendo.
All 13 episodes on this two disc set fly by and this show really is a hidden gem among a slew of similar “Pawn Star,” “Storage Wars” type inspired shows. This show is a lot like a ’76 Honda Accord. It’s not the prettiest thing in town, but it’s reliable, and you just can’t bring yourself to part from it.
The HD History Channel broadcast is transferred well to the DVD release. There are 6 and 7, 20-22 minute episodes on the two discs respectively and with little in the way of special features, there’s plenty of room for good video quality. The show is shot on HD video cameras, the shop is very well lit and all of the car hunting takes place in the Vegas sun which makes for a very light and bright viewing experience.
This is a well-produced show so the cast is always mic’d up which makes for no problem hearing the dialogue on the Dolby 2.0 audio presentation. The background music consists mainly of hair metal knock offs and some public domain rock tracks which boom well in the background but never drown out the dialogue. If you really want to get into the spirit of the show, turn up the sub-woofer and feel the rumble when some of these old cars get moving.
The only special features on this set are some deleted scenes included on each disc. The total for about a half an hour of extra viewing if you so desire. They don’t really add anything to the experience; it’s just extraneous stuff that didn’t make it into any episodes. I’m of the school that deleted scenes are deleted for a reason and these special features don’t change my opinion on that. Maybe some personality profiles on the cast members would have worked here as the pilot episode gets right into things and doesn’t give you any background on Koker, the shop, or any of the crew.
As a guy who spends a lot of time in front of a computer watching and reading/writing about movies and TV, I know very little about cars and absolutely nothing about motorcycles. With that said, I really enjoy this show. Even if you’re not familiar with or have any interest in cars, I suggest you take this show for a spin.