The wrecking claw hangs over the Land Rover Defender as its operator prepares to crush the exclusive vehicle on the orders of US customs.
Moments later the air is filled with the sound of twisted metal and shattering glass as the value of the car is reduced from a starting price of $100,000 to just $30 in seconds.
The legendary Land Rover Defender – a favourite with the Royal Family – had failed strict US safety laws and was banned from the roads for failing to have an airbag.
All models less than 25 years old on the other side of the Atlantic are expected to have the safety feature.
As a result, there is a lucrative market for the British-made vehicles, which can fetch up to six-times their UK value, and are often sold in the US for upwards of $100,000.
This has created a lucrative black market, with the importer of this model attempting to trick customs by illegally altering the car’s VIN and giving it a B registration number plate.
But their exploits fell foul of Baltimore Port’s eagle-eyed border officers, who seized the car as an ‘illegal and unsafe import’.
Inspection: Customs officers declared the it unfit for the US roads after discovering it had been tampered with
Rough treatment: The bonnet of the banned car pops as it is picked up by a JCB
Power: The off-road vehicle may be able to go places other cars can’t, but it is no match for the wrecking claw
Despite being known for its rugged build quality, the timeless Land Rover was no match for a scrapyard’s powerful claw.
A brief assault reduced the once immaculate 4×4 to a mangled wreck, with the remains dumped on the top of a pile of scrap metal.
The US Customs and Border Protection have now released photos of the British car being crushed in spectacular fashion in a bid to warn off illegal importers.
Robert Hunt, public affairs programme manager for the CBP, said: ‘The Land Rover Defender did not meet the safety rules of the United states roads so therefore it had to be destroyed.
Gripping: The claw grips the exclusive vehicle, dramatically reducing its value from the £100,000 starting point
Crushed: The air is filled with breaking glass as the claw hammers down on the roof of the vehicle
Turnover: The dealer who attempted to import the vehicle is likely to have a serious dent in their profits
‘The importer manipulated the Defender to make it look over 25 years old so he could legally import it. He did not get away with it.
‘It had to be seized and, because it had been illegally manipulated, we could not offer it for resale or re-export it and we had to ultimately destroy it.
‘People think they’re getting a 1975 Defender but really they’re getting a 2005 Defender that’s been illegally imported.
‘They can get upwards of $100,000 for these cars. As scrap metal, it’s probably worth about $30 now.’
Worthless: The scrap metal worker dumps the battered vehicle upside down
Warning: US customs released the dramatic pictures to deter other importers from trying to con them
The Land Rover Defender, which has been around in various iterations since 1948, is a favourite for farmers, the armed forces and the Royal Family.
The Queen is known to be a fan of the iconic car and has been filmed driving her’s around the Balmoral estate.
Land Rover imported about 7,000 Defenders from 1993 to 1997, but it had to discontinue because they failed requirements introduced in 1998.
Defenders over 25 years old are also fitted without airbags, but all cars over this age are exempt from the ruling.