TAMPA, Fla. - Smashing, crushing, and flipping cars at will, and is what Ignacio Romero does for a living. It is a job everyone wants to try.
"Yeah, like a big-boy toy store," he said with a laugh.
Romero and his family own Mega Auto Recycling in Tampa.
He buys up to 350 beat-up automobiles a week.
"It started because I like cars a lot, since I was a child," Romero explained. "And it's interesting to destroy cars."
It's interesting and lucrative. There's a lot of value in his piles of cars and there is a lot of organization in the chaos of destroying them. Romero first checks to make sure there are no red flags, and no car is reported stolen.
Then, they are drained.
"They process the gasoline and the oil from the engine and the transmission," he said.
Automobiles are then methodically picked apart, saving the most valuable pieces. Aluminum wheels are sold locally for scraps.
A large pile of engines are headed for a freighter that will take them to Africa.
Then, there's the true diamond in the rough: catalytic convertors.
"That’s the most valuable part of the car right now," Romero said.
One of them can go for up to $600, depending on the make and model. The cars are then crushed down and sold up north where they will be shredded.
"I can process 100, daily," he offered.
While Romero says destroying cars is absolutely fun, he also says it's surprisingly therapeutic.
"I relax myself here because destroying cars is good. You can take everything out," he said.
This is good because there is no shortage of work in this industry. Lots of automobiles are always looking for their final resting place.