Tampa man’s job of crashing and recycling cars is organized chaos
TAMPA, Florida. – Smash, smash and overturn cars at will, and that’s what Ignacio Romero does for a living. It’s a job that everyone wants to try.
“Yeah, like a big boy toy store,” he laughed.
Romero and his family own Mega Auto Recycling in Tampa.
He buys up to 350 dented cars a week.
“It started because I really liked cars, since I was a kid,” Romero explained. “And it’s interesting to destroy cars.”
It is interesting and lucrative. There’s a lot of value in his piles of cars and there’s a lot of organization in the chaos of their destruction. Romero first checks that there are no red flags and that no cars are reported stolen.
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Then they are drained.
“They process gasoline and engine and transmission oil,” he said.
The automobiles are then methodically sorted, retaining the most valuable parts. Aluminum wheels are sold locally for scrap.
A big pile of engines is heading for a freighter that will take them to Africa.
Then there’s the real diamond in the rough: catalytic converters.
“It’s the most valuable part of the car right now,” Romero said.
One of these can cost up to $600, depending on the brand and model. The cars are then crushed and sold in the north where they will be shredded.
“I can process 100 a day,” he offered.
While Romero says destroying cars is absolutely fun, he also says it’s surprisingly therapeutic.
“I’m chilling here because destroying cars is good. You can take anything away,” he said.
This is good because there is no shortage of work in this industry. Many automobiles are still looking for their final resting place.