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Sandy’s Aftermath: Storm Leaves Path of Destruction in Classic Car Community

Insurer says event is largest-ever loss in collector car history.

by on Dec.06, 2012

Haggerty Insurance estimates that as many as 10,000 classic cars may have been damaged or destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. Many of them were Corvettes.

While the loss of collector cars is nowhere near as important as the loss of lives, lifestyles and livelihoods from October’s Superstorm Sandy, that isn’t stopping many collectors from starting to think about how they will move on with their hobby after losing a beloved car.

Hagerty Insurance, the Traverse City, Mich.- based insurer that specializes in classic cars, said in a blog post that the storm damaged or destroyed between 8,000 and 10,000 classic cars, making the Sandy the classic car hobby’s most devastating single loss event ever.

High and Dry!

But Hagerty said in a blog post that the devastation from the storm has not stopped car people from starting their searches for new cars and parts – even while using computers powered by portable generators.

“We’ve talked to countless individuals who have been powering their PCs from portable generators and are already doing what so many of us do under far more normal circumstances — trolling Craigslist and eBay looking for cars,” the blog post says.

Not surprisingly, Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs apparently took the brunt of the damage.

Even though the sentimental value is gone, Hagerty said auctions such as the upcoming Scottsdale auction could see an increase in East Coast collectors looking to replace their classics.

While this could increase the cost of buying classics, Hagerty speculates that owners parting out their damaged cars could fill the market with parts that they salvage from their damaged cars.

Click here to read about how Sandy has helped new car sales.

Sales of new parts, particularly interior pieces, could be in short supply as collectors look to repair their damaged cars. In the short-term, those parts could be in short supply.

Hagerty said that while most collectors keep their classic cars in their own garages, they may want to consider offsite storage – at a location far enough from vulnerable areas to keep the cars safe.

“Since it is conceivable that another event of this magnitude could take place, cautious collectors are beginning to take more seriously the notion of storing their cars away from their homes if they live in vulnerable areas, even if it means that it is less convenient to use them,” Hagerty said.

On JalopyJournal.com, one car collector said that he feels fortunate that his classics were stored out of harm’s way.

“We escaped the flooding and were VERY lucky in Centereach and Shoreham where my cars are stored,” wrote QuarterLifeCrisis. “I feel for everyone who lost something they love. They’ll never stop making sheetrock and kitchen cabinets, those things can be replaced. The irreplaceable cars gone, the memories, and the lives lost, those are the true heartbreakers.”

Kevin J. Mackay, owner of Corvette Repair Inc. in Valley Stream, N.Y., on Long Island, told corvetteblogger.com that he’s had grown men come into his shop in tears. “They didn’t expect a storm surge to wipe out their work, their investment, their prized family heirloom,” he says.

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