US customs officials have crushed a fake classic Mini as part of Operation Atlantic which aims to stamp out fake classic cars being imported into the US.

US AND UK OFFICIALS working together on Operation Atlantic which targets Austin-Rover Minis and Land Rover Defenders imported into the US under the 25-year ruling. Basically, US authorities allow for classic and vintage cars (25 years and older) to be imported into the US without them needing to meet US safety standards.

On the other hand, importing a newer model means it needs to meet those safety standards or risk being confiscated and crushed. And that’s exactly what’s happened to 100 cars imported into the US this year from the UK, which have been Frankenstein cars.

US officials last week decided to make an example of one such vehicle crushing this supposedly 1988 Rover Mini. Only, once US officials looked into the car’s papers they found it carried a VIN belonging to a right-hand drive car not a left-hand drive model and hinted at a different engine being fitted to it. Oh, and the model purporting to have been built in 1988 was actually from 2000.

Not so classic mini crushed in America

“Foreign sellers were defrauding American consumers who thought they were purchasing a vintage car,” said Nancy Lewis, associate administrator at the U.S. Department of Transportation, “when in fact they were purchasing a potentially unsafe car.”

Gordon Roberts, detective chief inspector of the UK Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, stated that “Operation Atlantic is one of the more important initiatives for our office, as it clearly demonstrates the significance and benefits of multilateral information exchanges in the enforcement of the laws of both our countries.”

These illegal vehicles are represented on import entry documents as being 25 years or older, but may be newer, illegally reconfigured vehicles, or even reconstructed from stolen vehicle parts. The vehicle identification numbers (VIN) have been fraudulently altered.  These fraudulent actions attempt to use as cover exemptions within the statutes and regulations administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency that allow older vehicles to be imported without restriction.

“Safety is the U.S. Department of Transportation’s top priority and we are committed to preventing the illegal importation of vehicles and exposing their potential safety risks,” said Nancy Lewis, National Highway Traffic Association associate administrator for enforcement. “Along with our partners at CBP and CTAC, we’ll remain diligent in our enforcement efforts to protect the driving public.”

Watch the video of the rather over-the-top build-up to the car being crushed which, on so many levels is utterly horrible to watch, but ultimately the right thing to do. What do you think?



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1 comment

  1. Bit of a silly example though really! Saying your crushing it because its not 25 years old so it doesn’t meet safety standards? The mini didn’t change its design for 40 years! So how is a newer one any more dangerous than an older one? In fact the 2000 model had airbags and pretensioners so its got to be safer than a 1988 model! But I do understand the importance of the vehicle being presented with the correct identity and not being falsified, just not a very nice way for an icon to go out!

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