Assholes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security took a break from their busy schedules of snorting coke and having sex with prostitutes in Colombia and fondling children at airports on Thursday long enough to publicly destroy an imported Mini at a New Jersey junkyard. Hey, fuck you guys!
The AP reports that Customs and Border Protections officials held a press conference where they crushed a seized 2000 Mini — one of the last from the pre-BMW era — at Price's Auto Recyclers in Plumsted Township, New Jersey. The seizure was part of a partnership between the U.S. and Great Britain called "Operation Atlantic" designed to stop the importing of illegal cars.
As gearheads well know, cars younger than 25 years old are barred from being imported into the U.S. ostensibly for safety and emissions reasons, but really as part of protectionist laws that benefit automakers and used car dealers. Customs officials have been busy at it this year, seizing 40 Land Rovers across the country a few months back.
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The Mini crushed on Thursday in New Jersey had its VIN number swapped with a 1988 car in an effort to skirt the law and look like a legal import, the AP says. It's not clear when the car was seized or from whom, but NJ.com indicates it was under investigation for some time.
A few things tipped officials off, like the fact that the VIN number was for a right-hand drive car, an engine that wasn't from the 1988 model year and an airbag system that wouldn't have been present on a car of that vintage.
Though there is "no evidence that the person who planned to buy the Mini was involved in manipulating the vehicle," the buyer will not be reimbursed for the crushing.
There's a video that goes with it. I strongly advise you not to watch it.
Well, I say you can all eat shit.
Let's put aside the fact that the wanton, public destruction of one of the most fun-to-drive and iconic cars ever to put rubber to pavement just breaks my heart. Let's look at this logically for a moment. So destroying the car was our only recourse here? Really?
Hayward himself is quoted as saying that a Mini of this vintage could fetch something like $20,000 or even $30,000 if sold for parts. So why can't we ship it back to England, where it's from, and then sell it there? Why can't we sell its parts? The sheer wastefulness involved here is kind of insane. I mean, God forbid the government actually makes some money for us, right?
If nothing else the destruction of this poor 2000 Mini shows just how absurd our 25-year import ban really is. This was hardly some deathtrap — it even had an airbag, possibly even two.
You're telling me it was really that much more unsafe than any U.S.-spec car from the year 2000? Why can I legally buy a Caterham Seven in America but not a 15-year-old Mini with airbags? Why can I legally import a 1970 Mini, but not a much newer, much safer one with airbags?
Listen, DHS, I realize you're just enforcing the laws that are on the books, but that doesn't mean car enthusiasts like me have to like it. Just because something is a law doesn't make it right.
What this comes down to is the government destroying something a guy bought in front of him for no real reason other than it's "the law." And then holding a press conference to grandstand over it. This is how our tax dollars are spent.
I don't think DHS has much business going after cars that pose no safety threat to anyone in America until they stop laughing at people's naked bodies after they go through their horrible machines and making life miserable for disabled people.
Leave the Minis and Land Rovers alone.