Tons of Incredible Cars Were Sacrificed to Hurricane Ian: Now They’re for Sale as Totals

Your search for that cheap Ferrari 458 Spider or just a Challenger Hellcat Blackout is over. Slide into one of these low-mile creampuffs for sometimes half of what they went for when new. But just a couple of details. First, you’ll have to go to Copart in Florida to buy one. And two, the devastating Hurricane Ian got them a tad bit wet. So they, uh, might have some flood damage.

Your flood-damaged exotic car dreams are drying out in this Florida lot

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Flood damage Hurricane Ian | Copart

Yes, these are salvage or downright totals from Florida’s devastating Hurricane Ian. All of those images of rare cars and flooded homes were real, with just some of the results sitting in Copart lots drying out. Say you want a deal, but classics are more you’re style, there’s a beautiful 1954 Jaguar XK. Or how about going electric with a Porsche Taycan Turbo with less than 3,000 miles on the ticker? 

And the Ferraris are aplenty. There are so many varieties of Bentleys we can only wonder if the entire production landed in Florida, or more specifically, in the eye of Ian. And there’s a beautiful 1994 BMW 850 CSI, we’ve always wanted one of those beautifully designed coupes. Oh, and lots of Audi Quattros and Porsche Carreras, too.

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The yellow line indicates the waterline on this Ferrari | Copart

But let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. The good news is that these are all marked as flood salvage or totals. Unless they pass through a real scamster, that won’t change. But more importantly, with today’s abundant use of computers in cars, this could become a hopeless chase of one gremlin to the next. If you’re lucky.

Modern cars aren’t run by an onboard computer that magically conjures up how the car is functioning. There are sensors for everything. From the exhaust temperature to the door locks, there is communication between them and the computer. And they all have a unique handshake that happens thousands of times a minute. Everything functions together, with the computer as the captain.

The biggest roadblock to getting flooded cars running is the electronics

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This 1972 Porsche 911 was completely covered in the floods | Copart

And that’s especially true with the ECU. Plugging in a pristine one from another wreck, or even buying one new, won’t work. Everything in the electrical system must be reprogrammed to match. It’s both time-consuming and expensive.

All of this is after the salvage car has been torn down to replace critical electric components and sensors. And the engine, transmission, rear end, and other bits have been inspected and probably rebuilt. Plus, a new interior has been installed. And the broken stuff fixed. In short, it usually isn’t worth it. But good luck trying. 

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Flood damage Hurricane Ian | Copart

The National Insurance Crime Bureau has a free database that you can cross-reference to see if maybe six months from now when that pristine Ferrari California pops up for sale cheap, you can look up. So flood damaged, stolen, or salvaged if it was insured it will show up here. But who would own one of these prizes and not insure them?

Another place to look for free information is vehiclehistory.gov. You can get info on a vehicle’s title, odometer reading, and general condition. For a few bucks, they’ll give you an accident and repair history. You can start at ftc.gov/usedcars.

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