American and British officials have decided enough is enough and have launched Operation Atlantic, a joint effort between the two nations to restrict the flow of illegal vehicles across the ocean to buyers in the US.
The unlucky victim in this instance was a Rover Mini, imported under the auspices of being a 1988 model. However, it was ascertained that the car was actually produced around 2000, which would have made it one of the last “classic” Minis to roll off the line. Alarms went off when it was realized the VIN number belonged to a car which was right hand drive and had a different engine than the imported unit. While the 1988 variant and its engine were approved for import, the actual car being imported under a fake VIN was not.
The car was obviously impounded, and the feds(US Customs and Border Protection) decided they were going to use it to make an example. So they decided to take it down to a New Jersey junk yard to be destroyed; federal law actually mandates such. Apparently, the MINI was part of a crop of around 100 British vehicles impounded in recent months, among them a sizable assortment of Minis and Defenders.
An administrator from the US Department of Transportation remarked on the reason for the federal “dragnet” being imposed on such imports,
“Foreign sellers were defrauding American consumers who thought they were purchasing a vintage car… when in fact they were purchasing a potentially unsafe car.”