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Morning Lineup – January 20

Sunday Morning – Is There Anyplace to Park Around Here?

Are you looking for a good deal on a slightly-used car?  Some folks up in Long Island might have just what you want.  An outfit called Insurance Auto Auctions Corp. has been buying up Hurricane Sandy-damaged cars from the various insurance companies that had taken ownership after paying out settlements to their customers.  Insurance Auto Auctions routinely takes cars off the injurers hands and then resells them for either their scrap value or their worth as fixer-uppers.

The Sandy storm car-nage is a class all its own, however, with an estimated 230,000 autos damaged or destroyed in the incident.  Most of them are being bought by resellers who have them stored on dozens of parking lots around the NYC area.  One of the more notable storage sites is in Riverhead, Long Island, where the aforesaid Ins. Auto Auctions has leased all the runway space at the Calverton Executive Airpark and have neatly parked over 15,000 dried out cars so far.

photo by Doug Kuntz

The private airfield was originally part of a Grumman airplane factory that built fighter planes for the U. S. Navy but was vacated years ago and converted into the limited-use airport.  But now the airpark and the town of Riverhead are getting a fiscal boost while all this sorting out is taking place.  The New York Post reported:

Insurance Auto Auctions Corp. has agreed to pay the town of Riverhead, which owns the airport, $3,200 per month for every acre taken up by the cars.  The town estimates it’ll rake in $2.7 million from the deal, which will help keep its property taxes in line, said the town’s supervisor, Sean Walter.

Riverhead officials figure that besides boosting the town treasury, they’re also helping the region’s recovery by taking thousands of cars off the streets. "It’s a win-win," Walter said.

Some of the cars can’t be driven again and will end up being salvaged just for parts. But the insurance companies that own the cars hope to sell most of them to new owners who could fix them up and put them back on the road. Most of the cars are fairly new, Walter said.

There's a big red flag right there… they hope to sell them to somebody who thinks they can get them running again.  The trouble is, after all those computer chips and circuit boards have been soaked in salt water, they ain't gonna regulate your fuel flow or air conditioning controller all that well.  There is a Federal law that requires the titles of the affected cars to be overstamped "Flood" in large, red letters, but still …..

photo by Doug Kuntz

Anyway, what brought all this up this morning was an article on The Weather Channel's website that has a dozen of Doug Kuntz' fascinating aerial photographs of the "parking lot."  So CLICK HERE to take a look at them and maybe pick out the one that you'd might bid on.

That's after we get this equipment checked out, though.  I'll see how the Sunday breakfast is coming and get more coffee going before we meet back in the digital day room.  See you there.

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