Monday, August 26, 2013

Koker is back Counting Cars on History

Koker and Mack let Brioux know how many of them have cool cars
Wanted: one Rat Fink ring.
Last June when I was in Las Vegas, I asked Danny Koker, star of Counting Cars, if he had one of the bug-eyed rodent rings from the '60s.
"Wish I had--Bill, are you offering me one?" said Koker, whose series returns for a second season Monday night on History in both the U.S. and Canada.
Koker was a fan of custom car king Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, who passed away in 2001. Back when I was an avid Mad magazine reader as a kid in the '60s, I was fascinated by these whacked out, hideous hot rod-driving beasts Roth would draw, including the hairy Rat Fink. Eventually, you could buy plastic model kits and glue Roth's outrageous kustom car creations together.
Roth and that whole kustom car culture is what inspired Koker, 45, to get into the biz.
The late, great Ed "Big Daddy" Roth
"I had the pleasure of meeting Big Daddy Roth, he was a really, really, really cool guy," said Koker, one friendly, high energy dude himself. "He'd go to car events and shake everybody's hand."
Koker told me this "fish" story about the Ed Roth creation that got away. He was at a car auction in Vegas several years ago. "I was walking around, seeing what was out there over in the parking garage and there sat Big Daddy Ed Roth’s 'Outlaw' [a 1959 fiberglass hot rod]. It was dilapidated needed full restoration, wasn't running--it was a mess. Nobody was looking at it.
"Oh yeah," said Koker to himself. "I'm going to steal this car."
Comes the bidding, however, and Koker, who thinks he'll get the car for $15,000, is shocked when the bidding starts at $65,000. "Everybody there knew what that car was," he says. It eventually sold for $130,000.
One of Koker's classic Shelby Pony cars
Other cars did not get away from Koker. His collection, housed at his Vegas garage, includes a 1932 Ford Roadster that was the inspiration of a Hot Wheels car. He also has a 1934 beast that he claims is one of the oldest hot rods in the U.S., cut up in 1949 and detailed by Von Dutch, who painted the flames on the car in 1970. The car has a ridiculous 615HP engine.
There's also a Shelby Mustang from the '60s. Shelby modified 250 'stangs that particular year, all of them silver, except for one car painted black in the factory--and Koker's got it. "That's a significant collector car right there," he says.
I asked Koker and his GM, Kevin Mack, where my car would rank on the lame-O-meter. They were surprisingly cool with the 2001 Sebring, although disappointed it wasn't a convertible. This was, however, before my left wheel popped off the ball joint doing 75km on the 407 last week.
I like to think they'd be happy it was already back on the road.
Read the full article on Koker and Counting Cars in the Entertainment section of Monday's Toronto Star or, if you're a digital subscriber, here.
If you would like to meet Koker and Mack in person, they'll both be special guests Sept. 28 at the Brighton Applefest Car Show in Brighton, Ontario.
Koker's cars are generally easy to spot at any mall parking lot
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