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New York City Auctioning Off Unclaimed Cars Affected by Hurricane Sandy

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After Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast last October, thousands of houses and cars were damaged.

In total, more than 3,000 cars were towed for street cleaning in New York City. In the regions affected by Sandy, the number jumps to a total of 230,000 estimated vehicles destroyed or damaged by the hurricane.

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Over time, people have come to collect their cars, but there are still hundreds left unclaimed. Those unclaimed cars are now going to be auctioned off.

New York City officials estimate that more than 500 Cadillacs, Toyotas and BMWs are unclaimed. Now, they are auctioning them off, saying they are "flood-damaged but may be salvageable."

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When the storm hit, many cars floated across streets and ended up blocks from where they were originally parked. Some were in lawns, some ended up inside homes or tangled in trees.

New York even set up a hotline for car owners to call so they could locate their cars and gather their possessions.

The auction is offering some good deals on cars, some going for as low as $300. But bidders must be aware that many of the cars are not running and may only be good for their parts. The cars also do not have keys and can't be registered for the road unless they have an inspection.

"We've sold one as low as $300 and we had one above $10,000," auctioneer Richard Maltz said. "Just because a vehicle is titled as flood-damaged doesn't mean it's inoperable. To some degree, it's a gamble."

It is a gamble, especially because when salt water gets into a car's engine, the car is virtually useless.

When salt water gets into the engine, it damages computer-controlled fuel and braking systems, heating and air-conditioning.

But not all of the cars have salt water damage, and that's what the bidders are hoping to get. 

Those wishing to make a gamble on one of the cars need to bring 25 percent of the deposit in cash or check. The auctions will be held on May 2 and 7, with proceeds going into city funds and 10 percent to the auctioneer. 

Officials are planning to work with the car owners if they realize their car is being auctioned off.

Sources: Daily Mail, NY Post