Scott Jones rose to popularity on 13 August 2012, upon being featured in History channel’s one-of-a-kind “Pawn Stars” automotive spin-off series entitled “Counting Cars,” featuring Danny Koker as the head of operations, who was a prominent member of “Pawn Stars” before the creation of the series.
Koker owns and operates Count’s Kustoms, which is a vehicle repair and restoration shop situated in Las Vegas, Nevada USA. Produced by Leftfield Pictures, “Counting Cars” is the third car-focused “Pawn Stars” spin-off, following “American Restoration” and “Cajun Pawn Stars”.
While Danny is a self-taught mechanic with a family history of Ford Motor Company employees, other notable cast members included Scott Jones, the manager of the store and Danny’s bookkeeper, Kevin Mack, Danny’s right-hand man and best friend, and Michael ‘Horny Mike’ Henry, an airbrush artist.
The current team also includes Roli Szabo, the shop’s detailer, Shannon Aikau, the bike shop manager and lead builder, Ryan Evans, the head painter and graphic artist, Big Ryan, Danny’s project scout and parts expert, and Harry ‘Grandpa’ Rome Sr., a bodywork specialist.
Scott, however, was only there for the first two seasons of the show, and many wondered whether any argument between him and the rest of the cast may have resulted in his departure from the series. After all, it’s a competitive business, and not many prominent names in the automotive world have the patience to rectify their co-workers’ errors.
In fact, their often-rampant feelings combine for prime television as the deadlines run shorter and the builds become increasingly more difficult to complete. Naturally, being a bookkeeper and manager, Scott potentially had less worth than a very talented mechanic, although his job is of vital importance to any business, leading to the idea that he may have been fired for someone else’s sake, perhaps due to an off-screen argument that the media hasn’t gotten a hold of.
The shop under Scott
It became clear to everyone that Count’s Kustoms was in good hands when they saw Scott acquaint the audience with all the different aspects of what makes them a rather unique automotive-based business.
In the YouTube video entitled “Counting Cars – Scott’s Shop Tour | History,” uploaded on 21st April 2013, Scott Jones features as the project manager at Count’s Kustoms, giving an exclusive tour of the facility and offering some insight into his management style.
It begins with Jones welcoming the viewers and elaborately explaining his important position at Count’s Kustoms, after which he proceeds to give a tour of the buildings, starting with the fabrication and body shop.
He makes sure to relay just how capable the shop is, mentioning that they are currently working on eight projects simultaneously. He introduces Humberto, an employee who has been working on a piece for about two hours at the time. Scott jokingly reprimands Humberto for staying out late the previous night, and asks him to do ten push-ups as a form of light punishment.
Hey fans in Tennessee… Big Scott is headed your way on May 24! Stop by Kyker's Extreme Automotive for a meet & greet with him. Don't forget to become a fan of Discover Greeneville, TN for updates!!
Next, he takes the viewers to the main mechanical area and the showroom, where Danny’s car collection and bikes are stored. This is also where the final assembly of the many vehicles they work on takes place. He explains that the area in front of him is where they show the customers their finished cars.
The tour then moves on to the paint shop, where the finishing work on the colors is performed for that extra glitz at the end. Scott introduces Irish, another worker, and jokingly tells him to get out of the shop. He refers to Irish as the ‘mad scientist’ of Count’s Kustoms, but proudly praises his paintwork.
The final stop on the tour is the bike shop, where Scott introduces Steve, who does all the leather and canvas work, and Shannon, who is responsible for everything in the surrounding area. He mentions that she’s been with Danny from the very start, and that she praises his work ethic despite his ‘terrible attitude.’
Scott concludes the adventure by thanking the viewers for taking an inside look at Count’s Kustoms. He ends the video on a humorous note, saying that time is money and if the viewers aren’t paying him, they need to leave. The video ends with a shot of the shop, as Scott wishes the viewers a good day.
An air of mystery
Some of the more careful and skeptical viewers have over the years raised numerous questions about the show’s authenticity, suggesting that certain elements are staged or scripted. One of the main points of contention is the portrayal of spontaneous car purchases on the streets. It’s been reported that these transactions are pre-arranged, and not as impromptu as they appear on screen.
The negotiation scenes, where the crew members and car owners haggle over the price, are likely staged for dramatic effect. Additionally, the tight budgets and strict timelines the crew supposedly works within are also believed to be exaggerated, to add tension to the show.
Another aspect of the show that has come under scrutiny is the accuracy of the information presented. There have been instances where the crew members, including Danny, have shared incorrect facts about the cars they work on. Furthermore, the banter between the cast members and the backstories of the junk cars they find are reportedly scripted.
Regardless of that being true or not, it’s important to note that the crew completes almost all the projects they undertake. Most of the cast members have on more than one occasion revealed that there are multiple projects going on at the shop simultaneously, and it’s the production crew’s responsibility to film everything. This suggests that not all that the audience likes is staged, and the challenges the crew faces while working on the projects are more often than not very real.
That said, the show’s authenticity controversy has added a layer of intrigue, having become one of many debates sparked about the nature of reality television, and the extent to which producers manipulate situations for dramatic effect.
While some fans may have been initially disappointed by these revelations, others have found that it adds a new dimension to their viewing experience, prompting them to question the reality of what they see on the screen.
What’s actually fake in “Counting Cars”?
The series is in fact rife with elements that are more fiction than fact. For a start, the timeline of the builds is a complete illusion. The careful editing makes it seem that a car goes from junk to a custom masterpiece in a half-hour episode. In reality, each build takes an average of six months to a year, with the shop working on up to 15 cars at a time. The fast-forwarded timeline is purely for viewer entertainment, although editing is clearly necessary to accommodate broadcast times.
Another fabricated aspect is the drama; the crew appears to be constantly bickering and whining, creating a sense of tension and conflict. However, this drama is amplified for the cameras, as in reality, the cast is a successful team that handles a significant number of projects simultaneously, which requires a high degree of mutual accordance and teamwork.
The show also presents scripted conversations as spontaneous interactions, which, in spite of having no bearing on the way the builds turn out, helps glue those hungry for conflict to the screen.
While these discussions may have occurred in reality, they are often rehashed for the cameras, making them feel staged and rather inauthentic, especially due to the fact that the cast doesn’t consist of a professional acting cadre.
Similarly, the show portrays Danny Koker buying cars off the street in spontaneous transactions, which makes it seem like buying a vehicle from someone is as easy as getting a pack of gums at a corner shop. In truth, these deals are settled off-camera after thorough negotiations, most of the time without the car owner being someone who considers Danny a stranger. As for all or at least most of the on-screen exchanges, it’s evident upon closer inspection that they’ve been either scripted or staged.
Most importantly, the show has also been accused of creating false narratives around the specific cars, hoping to increase their value in the minds of the viewers, garnering ever greater numbers of viewers by glorifying their successes.
While every car is indeed restored to perhaps an even better state than its original counterpart that has just come off the assembly line, the stories about how they were acquired and their history are often embellished or entirely false. For instance, the show once claimed a Chevy truck was abandoned and unclaimed, which was later miserably debunked.
Most importantly, however, the shop has also faced customer dissatisfaction, contrary to the extremely high buyer satisfaction rate portrayed in the series. The fans remain adamant that this is completely over the top, acknowledging the fact that no one can provide a completely flawless service to the entire planet, and so they don’t really mind the apparent ‘rating setbacks’ that the History channel seems to be ashamed of through their show.
Here is a look back at some hot rods that we have built over the last few years! All new episode of Counting Cars TONIGHT! You won’t want to miss this episode! #history #lasvegas #countskustoms #countingcars pic.twitter.com/IKxzXDcF8a
— Count's Kustoms (@CountsKustoms) November 24, 2021
Is there any truth to it then?
The scripted elements notwithstanding, “Counting Cars” does have its share of hard-hitting and sometimes even boring reality. First off, the shop genuinely restores every car that comes through its doors. The work done on each car is completely real, even if the timeline and the narratives around it are not.
Danny Koker’s remarks about vehicles don’t seem to be read off Google either, as he tends to get a few details wrong in his comments and stories, while most of the others are spot-on. This shows the shop owner’s confidence in what he’s saying, and especially when it’s proven wrong, as he doesn’t take the accusation seriously, but always listens and learns something new.
The series also features real people with veritable non-invented talents. Mike, one of the characters, is genuinely skilled at pin striping, despite his polarizing on-screen persona. Similarly, Danny’s band, Count’s 77, is a real musical group active on the Las Vegas scene. Indeed, many viewers thought this to have only been made up to make the owner seem more relatable to the more artistically oriented potential viewers.
The show doesn’t shy away from showing the cast’s non-business-related real-life challenges either. For example, Danny has a hard time selling his cars, as he feels a personal connection to each build.
To conclude, “Counting Cars” is a blend of both reality and fiction, designed to entertain while showcasing the real work of car restoration. It’s just another classic reality TV show with some actual hard work involved, but the nuances are for the show’s creator to juggle in their favor, lying to the audience or giving them the naked truth, whenever either is appropriate.
So, what really happened?
Scott suddenly vanished from the show, leaving fans puzzled about his whereabouts. He was generally known for his assertive personality and readiness to confront even his boss when things didn’t go as planned, which led to numerous arguments on the screen, impairing his colleagues’ ability to focus. He became a fan favorite for the exact same reasons, as the audience seemed to appreciate a man with a genuinely solid attitude.
However, when the third season of “Counting Cars” aired, Scott was conspicuously absent, and the show’s cast didn’t provide any explanation for his disappearance. This led to a flurry of speculation among viewers, as some fans theorized that Scott might have got into legal trouble, possibly related to embezzlement.
This is quite similar to a case involving another Count’s Kustoms employee, Joseph Frontiera, who was accused of eventually robbing the business of $75,0000 in 2017. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this theory, as no legal charges against Jones have even been mentioned thus far.
A much more plausible theory suggests that Scott returned to his hometown in Greeneville, Tennessee, to start his own shop. This idea is supported by the fact that it was mentioned in “Counting Cars” that Scott had moved back to Tennessee after the birth of his youngest son. However, due to Scott’s absence from social media, it’s hard to confirm his current activities. Regardless of the speculation, fans of “Counting Cars” continue to remember Scott for his significant contribution to the show’s early seasons.